Why does this ingredient, once harvested from goat droppings (eww!), have master chefs and health researchers so excited?
You read that right… it was harvested from goat droppings. But not just any goats… Moroccan goats. Fortunately, it now comes from more appetizing sources.
The ingredient is argan oil. And it’s popping up on the menus of some of the most upscale restaurants in London and Paris. Here’s why. . .
Besides a taste that has gourmets going wild, research shows argan oil has extraordinary health benefits, too. It can help prevent cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and even some cancers.
Those Moroccan goats used to climb into the argan trees to eat the fruit. Then Berbers would harvest the seeds from their droppings. And these seeds contain a unique oil that’s jam packed with health promoting nutrients.
From The Cosmetic Counter to The Kitchen
You may have seen argan oil as an ingredient in various beauty products. Some cosmetic companies have created entire argan oil skincare lines. That’s because the oil is highly effective at reducing dryness and wrinkles.
It helps with other types of skin conditions, too. In Morocco, it was traditionally used to heal pimples, acne and even chicken pox spots.
And now chefs are in on it, too. The oil has a distinct taste that adds a delicious flavor to many dishes. And given the extraordinary health benefits of argan oil, it’s now popping up in home kitchens as well.
What makes argan oil so healthy is its unique balance of fatty acids. It’s made up of 35% polyunsaturated fat, 45% monounsaturated fat, and 20% saturated fat. This richness in unsaturated fats is one of the reasons why people who consume argan oil regularly have significantly lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.1
Outperforms Olive Oil
When it comes to reducing triglycerides, argan oil works even better than
In one astonishing study, 60 men were given 25 grams of butter each day (a little over five teaspoons) to eat with toast at breakfast for two weeks. Researchers then tested their levels of triglycerides. The study continued for another three weeks, except half the group replaced the butter with extra virgin argan oil, and the other half with extra virgin olive oil. Aside from that, their diets were pretty much the same.
At the end of three weeks, the argan oil participants had lowered their triglycerides an average of 71.5% more than the extra virgin olive oil group!2
That’s an astonishing difference. And it looks like argan oil may provide extra protection against a major cause of heart failure. Studies show it can reduce the risk of thrombosis.3 As you may know, thrombosis is a blood clot that forms during a cardiovascular event that blocks a blood vessel. It can be catastrophic.
Possible Cancer Fighter?
Numerous studies have also shown argan oil stops some tumors from growing. Researchers in France used the oil to stop certain types of prostate cancer cells from multiplying. The study was done in lab-cultured cells, not animals or humans, but it holds promise that the oil may someday be used to help treat, and even prevent prostate cancer.4
And it turns out argan oil is a powerful antioxidant, too. It actually helps your body do a better job protecting itself from cancer. It does this because it contains high amounts of tocopherols, and specifically gamma-tocopherol.
Tocopherol is a form of vitamin E. There are four tocopherols – alpha, beta, delta and gamma. Studies show that gamma-tocopherol – which is relatively rare — is the most effective form at stopping both prostate and colorectal cancers from growing.5 Of all the edible oils which have been studied, argan oil has the most gamma-tocopherol.
But the oil isn’t cheap, mainly because of the way the argan tree grows.
The argan tree is the second most prolific tree in Morocco. And while it grows abundantly in the wild, attempts to cultivate it or to grow it outside of Morocco have failed so far. That’s why it commands a hefty price… about $130 for a liter. But based on the research so far, it may be worth it in the long run.