Almonds play a key role in self-care trend, research finds

California almonds named number one nut

New research, from the University of California-Davis (USA) suggests that almonds may be a welcome addition to skincare routines.

A new study uses high-resolution imaging and shows reduced measures of wrinkle width and severity in postmenopausal women who ate almonds as a daily snack.

Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights comments: “This research is really interesting in light of established health food trends. There has already been a surge in new almond product introductions in response to increased consumer demand for healthy, clean-label and plant based foods but this study plays into an ever developing trend towards functional nutrition

“With snacking now a part of daily life, it’s a central focus for innovation and almonds can help manufacturers respond to consumers looking for definitive benefits, including beauty benefits, from their snacks and food.”

The new pilot study[1] found that a daily snack of almonds in place of other nut-free snacks improved measures of wrinkle width and severity in postmenopausal women. The study was funded by the Almond Board of California and is the first of its kind to examine almonds’ effects on skin health. A larger and longer-term follow-up study is underway.

In a 16-week randomised controlled trial, 28 healthy postmenopausal women with Fitzpatrick skin type 1 or 2 (characterised by increased tendency to burn with sun exposure) were randomly assigned to one of two groups.

In the intervention group, women ate almonds as a snack, which accounted for 20% of their total daily calorie intake, or 340 calories per day on average (about 2 30-gram servings).

The control group ate a nut-free snack that also accounted for 20% of calories: a cereal bar, granola bar or pretzels. Aside from these snacks, study participants ate their regular diets and did not eat any nuts or nut-containing products.

Skin assessments were made at the start of the study, and again at four weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks. At each visit, facial wrinkles were assessed using high-resolution facial imaging and validated 3-D facial modeling and measurement.

By the end of the study at 16 weeks, photographic image analysis showed statistically significant improvements for participants in the almond snack group compared to the control group (P<0.02):

  • Wrinkle width decreased by 10%
  • Wrinkle severity decreased by 9%

There were no significant changes in skin barrier function between groups.

“Food as a means of promoting skin health – the ‘health from the inside out’ idea – is of growing interest to those looking for options for healthy ageing,” says Dr. Sivamani

“It’s also a growing area of scientific research. Almonds are a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E and deliver essential fatty acids and polyphenols. They’re a smart choice for overall good nutrition. And, as seen in this study, almonds may hold promise as a food to include as part of a healthy aging diet, especially for post-menopausal women.”

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