10 Evidence Based Reasons Why Argan Oil Is An Awesome Superfood

Life is the combination of all the metabolic reactions that take place in the different cells of our body. For these reactions to proceed smoothly, we need external supplement of various nutrients through our diet.

Food that we eat provides us with the necessary nutrients that are required for its basic functioning. These include cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits, oils, meats and many other food products.

Some of the food products have additional biologically active compounds. These food products besides providing basic nutrition enrich the body with such components that have further health benefits.

These food products are called functional food. The functional foods have potential in reducing risk of various ailments. This potential is also many times extensible to the treatment and prevention of these.

The changes in our lifestyle and environment are exposing us to enormous health issues. To be healthy in these times is a rather big challenge.

Sometimes we face such health problems that are either too expensive to treat or do not even have a cure discovered for them. In such scenarios, we require alternatives to combat them.

Nature is always equipped with some kind of solution to every problem. For our well being, nature has given us precious gift in the form of functional foods.

The physiological properties of these functional foods, such as anti-oxidant, anti-proliferative, anti-cancerous, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic etc make them beneficial in a variety of health problems.

There are numerous functional foods known today. One of these is argan oil.

What is Argan oil?

Argan oil is the oil obtained from the seeds of the tree Argan spinosa. This tree is indigenous to the Mediterranean country, Morocco.

This oil has been used in this region of the world since ages for culinary and cosmetic purposes. More recently it has gained popularity all over the world owing to its extraordinary benefits.

There are two types of argan oil available. The oil extracted from raw and unroasted seeds is used in cosmetics while the oil from roasted seeds is used for cooking.

10 Reasons Why Argan Oil Is An awesome Superfood

The status given to argan oil of a functional food comes from the presence of the unusual compounds in it.

Argan oil has a large amount of tocopherols (Vitamin E). It is also rich in unsaturated fatty acids such as, oleic acid and linoleic acid. Other important components of this oil are squalene, sterols (spinasterol & schottenol) and triterpenes (lupeol, tirucallol etc).

These compounds enable it to have a variety of therapeutic effects. It has been found to have preventive action in a wide range of diseases.

The properties of argan oil that make it a functional food are as following:

1. Argan oil boosts antioxidant defenses

argan treeOxidative stress is a major cause of several body dysfunctions. Free radical production is a part of a number of metabolic reactions in the body.

In turn, these free radicals are quenched by anti-oxidants present in our body.

When there is an imbalance in this process, oxidative stress is the consequence. The excessive amount of free radicals in the body triggers harmful actions like, damage to DNA, proteins and other biomolecules that are involved in proper functioning of body.

However, a way out of this is external supplementation of anti-oxidants through our diet. Argan oil is a strong anti-oxidant owing to the presence of Vitamin E.

Vitamin E is capable of reducing the oxidative stress in the cells. Its action mechanism is scavenging free radicals and regulation of some metabolic pathways that have function in reducing the oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is associated with many health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and ageing.

The anti-oxidant components of argan oil have been found to have cancer preventive effects in the studies conducted on people using it in their diet.

The anti-oxidant potential of this oil has been found to be effective in wound-healing as well.

Studies have also shown argan oil to be effective in photoageing (ageing caused due to exposure to UV rays from the sun) through its anti-oxidative action.

There are evidences available for its anti-oxidant constituents’ action on skin problems, like hyperpigmentation too.

Argan oil components are also valuable in cardiovascular problems. These components are able to prevent oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL) which results in cardiovascular problems.

What does it mean?
It means the anti-oxidant action of argan oil is very useful in prevention of many diseases. It consumption can enrich body with anti-oxidants leading to oxidative stress reduction. Its application on skin is also very effective in getting through skin problems related to oxidative stress.

2. Argan oil has anti-inflammatory property

Inflammation is a natural immune system related response of the body involved in warding off pathogens or other disease causing agents.

Although at low levels it is a beneficial process for the body, at high levels it is linked to the progression of a large number of diseases, including cancer.

Argan oil has been found to possess anti-cancer activities owing to the anti-inflammatory property of its constituents, tocopherols and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Studies on the people consuming argan oil confer to its anti-inflammatory properties of against cancer and coronary heart diseases.

What does it mean?
It means argan oil consumption can be helpful in prevention of chronic inflammation in the body, which can cause many diseases.

3. Argan prevents atherosclerosis and benefits heart health

Atherogenesis is the process of formation of plaques on the walls of artery due to cholesterol deposition. This process is mediated by chronic inflammatory response.

This results in development of cardiovascular problems.

Studies have found argan oil consumption to have anti-atherogenic effects. Argan oil does so by improving the paraoxonase (an enzyme involved in anti-oxidant activity) activity in the cells. This results in reduced risks of cardiovascular diseases.

This oil has been found to make use of its anti-atherogenic property in diabetic patients as well. It reduces the abnormalities in lipid metabolism promoting reduced cardiovascular risk in the diabetics.

Argan oil has positive effects in lowering lipids and cholesterol in the body, which is related to atherogenesis.

What does it mean?
Substitution of argan oil in place of regular oils can be very effective in reducing the lipids and cholesterol deposition in the arteries. This deposition is cause of cardiovascular problems. So, argan oil consumption can prevent these.

4. Argan oil has blood thinning activity and benefits in thrombosis

Thrombosis is the process coagulation of blood in the blood vessels which leads to the obstruction in blood flow.

There are many diseases associated with this phenomenon, such as cardiac diseases, infectious diseases etc.

In a study, argan oil has shown anti-thrombotic activity by preventing the stoppage of blood flow.

There are also evidences of argan oil being capable of preventing platelet aggregation and improving anti-oxidant status in blood in accordance to its anti-thrombotic action.

What does it mean?
It means inclusion of argan oil in diet is an effective way of prevention of blood clotting in the body. Thus, it can prevent a number of conditions related to obstruction of blood flow in the body.

5. Argan oil has anti-proliferative action in cancer

Proliferation, i.e. increase in the number or size of the cells is involved in the development of a number of diseases. Some of these diseases are cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, fibroids etc.

The argan oil constituents are known for their anti-proliferative activity as well.

This oil has shown its anti-proliferative effects in certain experiments by activating some factors that decrease DNA synthesis in the proliferating cells.

Argan oil has been found to have anti-proliferative activity on the prostate cancer cells. It prevents division of cancer cells and also kills them.

What does it mean?
It means argan oil intake can be beneficial for the body through an increased anti-proliferative action. This action can prevent diseases which involve proliferation of cells.

argan oil as superfood

6. Argan oil has anti-diabetes action

Diabetes is a prevalent disease in which blood sugar levels become too high because of body’s inability to metabolize sugar. This happens either because body cannot make insulin or cannot use insulin effectively.

Studies have shown the potential of argan oil in treatment and prevention of progression of diabetes.

In an experimental study, argan oil was able to reduce blood sugar levels significantly. This anti-diabetic effect was promoted by the anti-oxidant compounds of this oil, i.e. tocopherols, phenols and unsaturated fatty acids.

What does it mean?
It means consumption of argan oil can be useful in lowering the blood sugar level. Its use is valuable to diabetes patients and also for prevention of diabetes.

7. Argan oil helps in weight loss

Obesity has become a common lifestyle related disease all over the world. In this disease there is excessive fat deposition in the adipose tissue of the body increasing the body weight too much.

Obesity leads to many other diseases due to the abnormalities in the metabolism of the body.

Argan oil has been found to benefit in obesity. It reduces the metabolic abnormalities promoted by high fat diet. Its anti-oxidant action lowers the parameters indicating the effect of oxidative stress on the lipids and cholesterol while still maintaining their levels in the body.

Argan oil can hence be used as a constituent of a balanced diet.

What does it mean?
It means inclusion of argan oil in place of regular oil in the diet can not only prevent further fat accumulation but also can lower the fat in the body.

8. Argan oil benefits in male infertility

Male infertility is another problem on the rise due to various lifestyle changes and environmental and physiological effects on the body.

There are several causes of male infertility, one of which is hormonal imbalance.

Argan oil has been found to be beneficial in overcoming the problem of male fertility. It does so by promoting hormonal balance in the men which improves the sperm count in them.

What does it mean?
It means regular intake of argan oil in diet can be helpful in males to improve their hormone levels involved in fertility. The hormonal balance can increase the sperm count in men.

9. Argan oil benefits in menopause

Menopause is the condition in women when they cannot reproduce. The ovaries stop producing the reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone.

Menopause may cause many disorders such as Vitamin deficiency in the body, skin irritations, acne, wrinkles etc.

Argan oil is known to be effective for post-menopausal problems. The Vitamin E fraction of this oil is found to be beneficial in overcoming these disorders.

It has also been found to improve the skin elasticity in post-menopausal women, preventing the wrinkles and ageing of skin.

What does it mean?
It means consumption and application of argan oil by post-menopausal women can be very beneficial for them. It is very useful in treating skin disorders associated with menopause.

10. Argan oil is a natural moisturizer

Moisture in skin is very important to ensure the blood circulation to the skin cells. This blood circulation provides the epidermis with oxygen and other necessary components.

If there is lack of moisture, it can result in several skin problems and can even slow down the process of wound healing.

Argan oil has shown its ability in hydrating skin by maintaining the water holding-capacity of the skin cells. The lipid fraction of this oil is able to encrust into the lipid bilayer of the skin cells thereby, locking the moisture in.

What does it mean?
It means consumption or application of argan oil can improve the moisture content of the skin. Thus, it can be effective in overcoming skin problems.

Dosage of Argan Oil For Health Benefits

argan fruitArgan oil can be used in dietary consumption as well as topical application. Maximum benefits of argan oil can be achieved through its intake in daily diet.

1-2 tablespoon (20-30 ml) of this oil can be taken in the form of salad dressings or through light cooking in the oil.

Capsules (1-2 ml capacity) of argan oil are also available in the market but meeting daily requirement through these is a tedious option.

For skin and hair care, argan oil can be applied directly. There are also argan oil based creams and shampoos available for topical application.

Precautions

Argan oil is generally regarded as a safe food product. Nevertheless, there is always a possibility of some adverse effects. Therefore, some precautionary measures must be taken for its use.

1.The oil should be pure.
Argan oil that we use must be pure otherwise best health benefits will not be obtained. If the oil is adulterated there may be some adverse effects on the health due to some reaction with the adulterant.

2.Argan oil should not used for deep frying.
High heat can cause the degradation of various constituents of this oil. Therefore, it should be either taken as it is or used only in mild cooking.

3.It should not be applied on open wounds.
Application of argan oil on open wound may cause irritation which can be harmful for the process of wound-healing.

4.Argan oil should not be applied on scars.
There have some findings that suggest that argan oil application on scars (especially surgery scars) can have detrimental effect.

5.Argan oil can cause allergy.
People prone to nut oil allergy can be allergic to this oil too.
The cold pressing technique for extraction of this oil sometimes results in presence of the proteins that cause allergy.

Conclusion

Going by the above studies which provide evidences for the extraordinary properties of the argan oil, it can be substantially concluded that argan oil is a functional food.

The valuable properties of this oil have very beneficial effect on many diseases. This oil has efficacy in prevention of many common lifestyle related health problems that we regularly face.

Argan oil certainly has an immense potential as a functional food that can be extended even further.

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