Olive vs. Argan Oil : Which is Better for Heart Health? [Fact Based]

The man has become the master of mimicking the nature. He almost replicated nature and its product in all possible ways. By doing this he packed the benefits and made available to wider range of people.

These benefits are accompanied by a significant amount of artificial products like chemicals which intend to change the benefit-harm ratio.

Natural products possess enormous benefits which can’t be surpassed by synthetic products. Hence, natural sources still remain the best-known source for drugs and curative measures

Out of all natural products oils are majorly used for medicinal and health purposes. These essential oils bear anti-oxidant, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Use of these oils is increasing rapidly as they cure without any side-effect.

Argan oil, olive oil, basil oil, eucalyptus oil, and sandalwood oil are some commonly used oils.

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What is olive oil?

Olive oil is extracted from fruit Oleaeuropaea which traditionally belong to Mediterranean basin. It is mainly prepared by pressing the fruit.

The main component of this oil is oleic acid. It also contains a smaller quantity of other fatty acids – linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid. It also contains saturated fatty acids like stearic and palmitic acid. It provides 3.5 oz. energy for 100g.

Extra virgin oil commonly used in Mediterranean foods has no more than 0.8% free acidity. Free acidity is expressed as the percentage of main fatty acid content in100gm of oil. Change in acidity is due change in free fatty acid content.

5 Benefits of Olive Oil for Heart Health

Olive oil has an endless list of benefits. Researchers so far have only been able to find few miraculous uses out of countless ways of olive oil. Though It is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean food, it has gained popularity among different regions because of its peculiar taste and healthy nature.

Systematic reviews have shown that use of olive oil improves cholesterol, reduces obesity, act as antioxidants and provides beauty benefits.

Few pieces of research have also shown that olive oil is effective in reducing weight.

1. It lowers cholesterol

Cross-sectional studies reveal that intake of olive oil is inversely related to serum cholesterol in both the sexes.

The results of this research have been adjusted for confounding risk factors. In a study comparing cholesterol level in the diet rich in rapeseed oil, olive oil and sunflower oil, it was found that olive oil and rapeseed oil have higher HDL(high-density lipids) than sunflower.

HDL is generally known as good cholesterol and higher level are protective in nature.

As we are already aware that low HDL and high LDL are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

What does this mean?
Olive oil reduces cholesterol level and hence reduces the chance of having heart problems.

2. It reduces the risk of atherosclerosis

Olive oil contains antioxidants which have shown to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Potentially it improves arterial function which has a causal association with atherosclerosis.

It has been found in the study that the condition of endothelial dysfunction (vascular health) in patients with early atherosclerosis is improved due to the reduction in leukocytes.

This reduction in leukocytes can contribute to an anti-inflammatory effect. Thus olive oil thought to be a supplement for healthy cardiovascular diet.

What does this mean?
Use of olive oil reduces the incidence of cardiovascular diseases by improving the endothelial dysfunction in early stage of atherosclerosis.

3. It Reduces fatty liver disease

A fatty liver disease is a state when the level of fat in the liver is more than 5%-10%. This condition can arise either due to an intake of alcohol (Alcoholic Liver Disease) or absence of alcohol (non-alcoholic liver disease).

Inappropriate fat intake through diet, insulin resistance, and high intake of soft drinks increases the level of free fatty acid to the liver and accumulate triglycerides.

Olive oil rich diet decreases accumulation of triglycerides in liver improves fat and glucose metabolism in the liver. This decreases the free fatty acid content in liver and protects the person from the disease.

What does this mean?
Olive oil consumption significantly decreases the free fatty acid content which as a result protect the liver and heart.

4. It can help in obesity

Losing weight without dieting seems next to impossible, but olive oil use can turn one from flab to fab.

In various researchers, it has been found that olive oil-enriched diet significantly reduced kilograms of weight in some time. Along with this olive oil group showed a greater Weight loss as compared to lower-fat diet group in a period of 8 weeks,

Few studies report that there is no association between BMI and intake of olive oil. They further explain that the no reduction in BMI was observed after taking energy consumption into account.

What does this mean?
Intake of olive oil brings Reduction in BMI level in few studies. Further studies needs to be done to confirm this.

5. It has antioxidants

Recent animal studies have shown that olive oil reduces the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). According to the study intake of 50g of olive oil, each day delivers about 2mg of hydroxytyrosol-equivalents per day.

A study showed a significant decrease in superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxide (enzymes that regulate antioxidant and prooxidant balance) whereas an increase in the amount of catalase in erythrocytes as a result of consumption of extra virgin olive oil by elderly people.

What does this mean?
Olive oil acts as anti-oxidant which increases catalase and enhances the breakdown of bad cholesterol but the phenol component is in traces which can’t significantly reduce the level of low density lipids by oxidation.

What is argan oil?

Argan oil is known for its therapeutic effect from several centuries. It belongs to Morocco. It is extorted from kernels of the argan tree- Argania spinosa.

Different type of extraction process yield different amount of oil, hence extraction of argan oil is one of the critical steps.

It is mainly composed of fatty acid both monounsaturated and saturated. The oil also contains tochopherol, polyphenol, Squalene, carotene, sterols and triterpene alcohol.

With such a useful list of components, argan oil provides an endless list of benefits. It also contains traces o fcaffeic acid, oleuropein, tyrosol, catechol, resorcinol, vanillic acid and catechin.

Consumption of argan oil helps in nourishing the skin and prevents premature ageing. It has found to be effective in protecting individuals from cardiovascular disease. Researchers have shown that Argan oil help in reducing obesity, diabetes and LDL (Low-density lipids).

argan or olive oil which is better for heart

5 benefits of Argan Oil for Heart Health

Here is why argan oil is a heart-friendly oil:

1. It lowers cholesterol

Phenolic compounds found in the oil inhibit the oxidation of Low-density lipids which is referred to as bad cholesterol. Increase in bad cholesterol increases the chance of having cardiovascular diseases.

Secondly, researchers have also found that it increases the level of High-density lipids which is considered as good cholesterol by reversing its transport so that it doesn’t get oxidized.

This is accomplished by suppression of super-oxide reaction and interruption of propagation of chains of lipid peroxides.

Rare sterols in the oil have found to reduce plasma and liver cholesterol level and also modulate cholesterol excretion.

What does this mean?
This means phenolic components of argan oil help in reducing cardio-vascular disease by reducing the cholesterol level

2. It reduces risk factors for heart diseases

Argan oil has been found to improve vascular function in hypertension. This oil also inhibits platelet aggregation without affecting the adhesiveness of platelets to the blood vessels and hence prevents thrombosis.

Tochopherol and phenolic compounds reduce the conversion of lipoprotein to lipid peroxidation. Lipo-peroxides play a crucial role in the development of atherosclerosis and hence prevent the incidence of atherosclerosis.

Unsaturated fatty acid regulates blood pressure, plasma lipids and blood pressure lipoproteins profiles and hence reduce the risk of the development of atherosclerosis and the incidence of CVD.

What does this mean
Argan oil efficiently ameliorates various cardiac risk factors such as hypertension and thrombosis..

3. It helps in fatty liver disease

PPAR- gamma is a nuclear receptor. This protein governs lipid metabolism and fatty acid oxidation.

Animal model reveals that mice fed with the Argan oil have greater expressions of various gluconeogenesis transcripts. Gluconeogenesis transcripts are factors that help in the production of glucose from other non-carbon sources like fats.

Apart from this argan oil also affect the activities of enzymes acyl-CoA dehydrogenases and peroxisomal catalase (an enzyme that uses hydrogen peroxide to oxidize other substances).

Acyl-CoA dehydrogenases are enzymes that catalyze initial steps of fatty acid oxidation or breakdown of fats by attacking on β-carbon of fatty acid. These help in oxidation of fats and reduce free fat in the liver.

What does this mean?
This miraculous oil improves fat metabolism and prevents accumulation of fats in the liver.

4. It is an anti-diabetes agent

In a study, it has been proven that the use of this oil significantly increases the paraoxonase 1 activities (an antioxidant enzyme) and tocopherols levels.

When compared with fish oil, linseed oil and sunflower oil. This further decreases risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

It also reduces the metabolic effects of obesity by bringing a reduction in metabolism of lipoprotein. It reduces insulin resistance and repairs fasting blood sugar control.

Sterols: schottenol and spinasterol found in oil are responsible for anti-diabetic effect.

What does this mean?
Argan oil benefits in diabetes and thus reduces heart risks associated with diabetes.

5. It serves as an antioxidant

Argan oil contains tochopherol, sterols and phenolic compounds that act like anti-oxidants.

Findings of the study suggest that consumption of this oil encourages lowering of Low density lipids (LDL) cholesterol and anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants present in the oil protects against cancer by destroying the free radicals present.

What does this means?
This means that the argan oil has a lot of potential to act as anti-oxidant and protect the body against free radicals.

Argan oil vs. Olive Oil: Which is better for heart health?

Argan oil and olive oil have an endless list of benefits which man has only been able to discover a few.

It has been found that the argan oil have stronger anti-oxidant properties as compared to olive oil.

A comparative study on 8 edible oil reveals that the argan oil has more similarity to walnut oil as compared to olive oil in terms of phenolic content and γ-tochopherol.

Argan oil content slightly higher phenolic compounds and significantly higher tochopherol content than olive oil.

This reflects that argan oil has a stronger anti-oxidation and free radical oxidizing property which reduces several risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

A study comparing the bioavailability of polyphenols and anti-oxidant properties of olive oil and argan oil discloses that bioavailability and anti-oxidant property of later is more.

Significantly large amount of polyphenols are absorbed in the intestine from argan oil. Despite that both are equally protective against reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation.

Due to high mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acid content and antioxidant property virgin argan oil act as a soldier and prevents the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

It was found that the consumption of argan oil brought an increase in paraoxonase 1 activities which is responsible for improved antioxidant status in the body.

Conclusion

The argan oil also referred as golden oil has higher unsaturated fatty acids which reduces the bad cholesterol (LDL) and also enhances the good cholesterol (HDL) synthesis.

Argan oil also have γ tochopherol level which is responsible for the oxidation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and hence act as strong oxidizing agent.

Intake of argan oil also brings a higher reduction in cholesterol as compared to olive oil. No direct study regarding cardiovascular diseases have been found yet.

With these properties and evidences, one can say that argan oil is better than olive oil in the context of heart health. The future researches may answer the question on a scientific basis.

Lastly, the olive oil is available to the wider public and is common in use whereas argan oil is limited to Moroccan region. This is reflected in cost of the two products.

The wider availability makes olive oil cheaper than argan oil.

Though the olive oil is not as beneficial as argan oil but the cost factor and easily availability makes olive oil more popular among common people.

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