Almonds are the edible seeds of the Prunus dulcis tree, more commonly known as the almond tree.
Although almonds are commonly referred to as nuts, they are actually the seeds found at the center of the almond fruit, which closely resembles a peach.
Almonds can be consumed whole, ground into flour and even made into non-dairy milk.
They are very rich in fat, making them a perfect source of oil.
Sweet almonds are the variety typically eaten and used to make foods, oils and cosmetics.
Meanwhile, bitter almonds are believed to have medicinal properties, though they can be toxic if they are not properly processed. Moreover, they are not widely available.
Refined vs Unrefined Almond Oil
After harvesting, almonds are hulled and dried before different methods are used to extract their oil.
Refined almond oil is extracted from almonds using high-heat processing and chemicals.
This method negatively affects the nutritional value of the oil, as many of the nutrients found in raw almond oil are destroyed during high-heat or chemical treatments (1).
While this method results in a less nutritious oil, refined almond oil can withstand much higher temperatures and is less expensive than the unrefined type, making it a more cost-effective option for consumers.
Unrefined almond oil is made by pressing raw almonds without the use of high heat or chemical agents.
This low-heat process helps almond oil retain much of its nutrient content, making unrefined almond oil a better choice for culinary uses.
Below is the nutritional breakdown of 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of almond oil (2).
- Calories: 119
- Total fat: 13.5 grams
- Saturated fat: 1.1 grams
- Monounsaturated fat: 9.4 grams
- Polyunsaturated fat: 2.3 grams
- Vitamin E: 26% of the RDI
- Phytosterols: 35.9 mg
Almond oil is an excellent source of vitamin E and contains a small amount of vitamin K.
Most of the health benefits related to almond oil stem from its high amount of healthy fats.
Fatty Acid Breakdown
Here are the proportions of fatty acids found in almond oil:
- Monounsaturated fat: 70%
- Polyunsaturated fat: 20%
- Saturated fat: 10%