Argan oil, also known as liquid gold, is considered a miracle ingredient. Argan oil is rich in nutrients, including fatty acids and vitamin E. It is used in everything from cosmetics to food. The popularity of argan oil is taking the world by storm, and its health benefits are becoming more widespread.
This “miracle oil” is also becoming a popular choice for many celebrities. However, you don’t have to be rich and famous to reap the health benefits of argan oil.
Let’s take a closer look at what this miracle oil can do for you.
What Is Argan Oil?
Argan oil is produced by extracting the oil from argan tree nuts. Argan trees are primarily located in Southwestern Morocco.
The argan tree is considered so beneficial to the environment that, in 1998, Morocco’s argan forest was declared a Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The forest is still threatened by deforestation as locals chop down trees for building materials and firewood. However, this has diminished in recent years as more locals have become involved in the production of argan oil.
To get oil from the fruit of the argan tree, you need to dry and extract the nuts, crack them, and press them to release the oil. This will result in a thick Argan paste (which can be used for cosmetics). Nothing is wasted in the process, as the outer pulp provides food for local animals and the shells are burned for fuel.
Types of Argan Oil
Argan oil has been given different names, based on its usage.
- Edible Argan Oil: This is made from roasted kernels. It is antioxidant-rich and has a hazelnut flavor.
- Cosmetic Argan Oil: Cosmetic Argan oil is prepared through the process of solvent extraction. The seeds are ground and then purged or washed using a petroleum distillate. The oil is commonly used in skin and hair products.
- Beauty Argan Oil: The preparation time for beauty argan oil is less than that of edible oil, mainly because roasting is not necessary during preparation. The manufacturing process involves picking the fruit, peeling it, breaking the nut and kernel pressing.
- Enriched Argan Oil: Preparation of enriched argan oil requires the removal of free fatty acids by steam distillation (separating the free fatty acids) at 200 degrees Celsius.
Nutritional Benefits of Argan Oil
- Argan oil is rich in vitamin A and omega-9 unsaturated fatty acids.
- Argan oil contains tocopherols, which makes this oil a powerful antioxidant that can limit the effects of free radicals.
Top 6 Health Benefits of Argan Oil
1. Reduces Premature Aging
Because argan oil contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids, it works well in erasing signs of premature aging (e.g. wrinkles) by regenerating the healthy skin cells.
2. Protects Against Environmental Damage
The antioxidants found in argan oil help protect the hair, skin, and nails from UV radiation by promoting regeneration of healthy cells.
3. Heals Skin Diseases
The triterpenoids found in argan oil can help stop the growth of warts, break down tumorous skin cells and treat certain forms of dermatitis.
4. Anti-inflammatory Benefits
Argan oil contains flavonoids, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. If you require relief from sore muscles and joints, massage a few drops of the oil onto the affected area. Its powerful anti-inflammatory benefits can also be beneficial for poor digestion or bladder problems.
5. Lowers Cholesterol
Using culinary-grade argan oil as a substitute for unhealthy oils can help lower bad cholesterol. The combination of the plant sterols schottenol and spinasterol can help block the absorption of bad cholesterol.
6. Fights Cancer
The antioxidants found in argan oil can help protect skin from free radicals, which can lead to skin cancer. Previous studies have shown the healing power of Argan oil against various cancers, including colon, prostate and bladder cancer.
Argan Oil Uses for Skin and Everyday Well-Being
1. Hydrating Toner
Add a few drops of argan oil to your favorite facial toner to hydrate and tone simultaneously.
Add a drop or two of argan oil to your bronzer, tinted moisturizer or foundation for a luminous glow.
3. Hair Shine
If you have dry, lackluster hair, add a few drops of argan oil to the palms of your hand. Rub them together and run your fingers through your hair for maximum shine and to tame frizz.
4. Lip Exfoliator and Moisturizer
For smooth, moisturized lips, mix one or two drops of argan oil, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Massage onto your lips and then rinse.
5. Leave-in Conditioner
To hydrate and moisturize your hair, add a few drops of argan oil to your wet hair (make sure to saturate the ends as well as the scalp). This is particularly effective on hair that is dry from using a flat iron or a blow dryer on a daily basis.
6. Dry Feet and Heels
If you’re suffering from dry skin, massage a couple of drops of argan oil to the affected areas on your hands or feet. Then put on a pair of socks and let the oil soak into the skin. Leave the socks on for about 20 minutes.
7. Prevents Stretch Marks
Argan oil can help prevent stretch marks (i.e. caused by pregnancy or weight gain) by softening and strengthening the skin.
How to Tell If Your Argan Oil Is Impure
There are many products on the Internet and in health and wellness stores that claim to be pure argan oil. Here are a few helpful tips to help you decide if the brand is worth investing in or not:
- The Bottle: Be wary of argan oil sold in clear, plastic bottles as it can cause the oil to deteriorate. Most producers of pure argan oil typically place the oil in dark colored glass bottles.
- The Ingredients: The ingredients should be short and simple. The label should only claim 100% argan oil or 100% Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil.
- The Texture: Pure Argan oil should be silky and smooth. If it feels sticky, watery or slimy, and burns when you apply it to your skin, refrain from using it again.
- The Price: Argan oil is difficult to make and takes hours of manual labor, so there is no such thing as cheap argan oil. You might think $10 for two ounces of argan oil is a bargain, but it could just be vegetable oil. Be wary of the price, and check the labels. In most cases, it’s either not pure, or it may be culinary argan oil, which is more economically priced.
How Much Argan Oil Should You Use?
To ensure you’re taking full advantage of argan oil’s therapeutic and preventive properties, consume one to two tablespoons each day.
Keep in mind that heating this oil can reduce some of its benefits. Instead, try adding the oil to cooked foods or use it as part of a salad dressing—such as in this delicious recipe for spiced Moroccan salad.
Spiced Moroccan Salad with Argan Oil
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 cup of couscous
- 2 carrots
- 1 teaspoon of rich honey
- 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons of argan oil
- 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds
- 1 cup of chickpeas
- 1 Tablespoon of mint
- 40 grams of rich whole almonds
- A pinch of salt
- 1 Tablespoon of parsley
- 1 Tablespoon of paprika
- 150 grams of baby spinach leaves
- 6 fresh dates
- 1 Tablespoon of coriander
- Pulse the almonds in a food processor until plainly chopped and then set aside.
- Chop the dates into several small pieces and set aside.
- Boil one cup of hot water on the stove. Add couscous, a pinch of salt and olive oil to the hot water. Cover the lid and set it aside for 10 minutes so the ingredients can be absorbed.
- Chop the coriander, mint, and parsley.
- Break apart the couscous using a fork. Add the parsley, mint, and coriander to the couscous.
- To create the dressing, place the argan oil, paprika, lemon, cumin and honey into a bowl and mix thoroughly with a spoon.
- Add the dressing to the couscous.
- Place the spinach leaves in a large bowl or plate. Add one cup of chickpeas to the spinach leaves.
- Grate the carrots into thin strips and place them in a salad bowl.
- Add the couscous, dates, and nuts. Sprinkle the salad with sesame seeds and layer the argan oil over it. Bon appetite!
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