The term ‘heart disease’ is used to broadly define a group of medical conditions pertaining to the functioning of the heart and blood vessels.
This includes disorders such as coronary heart disease, heart beat abnormalities (arrhythmias) and several other ailments of the circulatory system.
Most cardiovascular diseases are formed as a result of plaque formation. Plaque is a combination of substances such as fat, wax, and cholesterol.
This accumulates along the walls of the arteries and obstructs systematic blood flow.
It causes a condition called atherosclerosis which prevents oxygen delivery to the heart. It could cause shortness of breath, chest pain or heart attack.
Heart attacks or myocardial infarction are induced by a blockage in the coronary arteries. It occurs either when there is a tear in plaque or due to slow plaque pile up.
The former happens when blood clot formation at the site of the tear prevents oxygen delivery to the heart and the latter leads to narrowing of the arteries and thus blocks blood flow.
The occurrence of heart disease is often linked to certain types of lifestyles. According to The National Heart, Lung and Blood institute some of these factors are smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption, age, lack of physical activity and genetics.
Individuals having diabetes or metabolic disorders may also be at risk of heart ailments. These factors should be closely monitored to decrease their risk.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating a healthy diet, normal weight, low-stress levels, and high physical activity could positively influence factors affecting heart disease.
What is Argan oil?
Argan oil has been used by natives of Morocco for centuries. It is obtained from the kernels of small Argan fruits. It is so nutritious that goats used to climb trees to eat them. The oil is extracted by cold pressing of the kernels. It is one of Morocco’s natural treasures.
It has unique healing properties. This is due to the fact that it is endowed with anti-oxidants, omega 6 fatty acids, linoleic acids, and Vitamins A and E. This organic oil is often referred to as ‘liquid gold’.
Recent scientific studies have shown certain beneficial qualities of Argan oil that could provide a remedy for heart diseases.
It is composed of major and minor components, the combinatorial effects of which are responsible for its positive effects against heart diseases. Major components- mono-unsaturated fatty acids and saturated fatty acids merge with minor components- polyphenols, sterols, tocopherols, squalene, titerpene, and alcohols to effectively regulate cardiovascular metabolic markers.
12 Proven Benefits of Argan oil for Heart Health
When fatty substances and waxy substances like LDL ‘bad cholesterol’ collect in the body it forms a complex called plaque. It hinders blood flow and causes atherosclerosis.
Plasma lipid profiles and antioxidant statuses are therefore key factors to be examined when analysing the extent of heart disease.
Consumption of Argan oil has shown numerous benefits to combating and reversing the effects of heart diseases. It is due to the presence of the following nutrients and properties:
1. Phenolic nutrients in Argan oil reduce cholesterol levels
A recent study showed that in a group of 60 participants, 30 of whom consumed virgin olive oil and the remaining 30 consumed Argan oil, observed over 3 weeks, the group who consumed Argan oil showed higher HDL ‘good cholesterol’ levels and a lower LDL ‘bad cholesterol’ levels.
This result is due to the fact that polyphenols in Argan oil prevent LDL oxidation while promoting HDL levels.
A lower concentration of triglycerides in the blood was also observed indicating how Argan oil consumption decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
What does this mean? Since Argan oil favours the development of HDL over LDL, the concentration of ‘bad cholesterol’ in the body is lowered. As LDL is critical in formation of plaque along the arterial walls, consumption of Argan oil prevents plaque formation in the bloodstream and allows for systematic blood flow.
2. Argan oil boosts antioxidant defenses
Antioxidants are natural compound generally obtained from vitamins and minerals in our diet. They play a crucial role in acting against free radicals formed in the body.
Free radicals are highly toxic as they oxidise LDL and assist its development in the blood leading to fatty plaque formation.
Without the action of antioxidants, these free radicals travel throughout the body, damaging cells in the process.
Argan oil is rich in compounds like Vitamins A and E, polyphenols and plant sterols, all known for their excellent antioxidant capabilities.
Researchers carried out tests on a group of individuals who had consumed 25ml Argan oil daily for a time period of 3 weeks.
The subjects showed increased biological activity along with lower LDL levels. This could be a powerful mode of countering the effects of atherosclerosis while raising the level of helpful Vitamins A and E in the body.
The oil’s anti-atherogenic properties contribute to improved blood plasma oxidative status.
What does this mean? This implies that by consuming Argan oil regularly, its antioxidant compounds maintain a check on free radical levels. They combat their effects and prevent formation of plaque. Improved blood plasma oxidative status entails good heart health and low toxin levels in the blood.
3. Argan oil reduces the risk of atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque accumulates along the walls of the arteries and prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching the heart. Over time this narrows the arterial walls and could cause a heart attack or stroke.
If atherosclerosis persists for too long it could be fatal. As such, fighting the effects of this is a matter of prime importance when attempting to treat heart ailments.
Apolipoprotein B (apo-B) and Lipoprotein (a) are two compounds that promote platelet aggregation along the arterial walls while also aiding LDL accumulation.
These molecules exacerbate the harmful effects of atherosclerosis.
In an experiment where 62 out of 96 individuals consumed 15ml of Argan oil daily. The group which consumed the oil showed a significant reduction in apo-B and Lipoprotein (a) levels.
Argan oil prevents the attachment of platelets to the arterial walls.
This could provide a remedy to thrombosis- formation of blood clots inside the arteries.
Argan oil is loaded with highly nutritional phenolic compounds, tocopherols, and unsaturated fatty acids. It is believed to have higher antioxidant capabilities than even olive oil.
It has been experimentally proven that Argan oil works by preventing LDL oxidation while Vitamin E concentrations rise.
This promotes entry of HDL from human THP-1 macrophages into the blood simultaneously.
What does this mean? From the above mentioned properties it can be understood that culinary Argan oil aids HDL formation and blocks LDL production through various molecular mechanisms. It is therefore effective in avoiding the harmful effects of atherosclerosis and thrombosis.
4. Argan oil provides essential omega 3s
In a survey conducted with 2,50,000 subjects, it was seen that action of Alpha-linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids showed 14% to 20% reduction of heart attacks, stroke, and other circulatory system related issues.
Argan oil is a potent mode of regulating blood pressure levels as it is loaded with Omega 3s and Alpha-linoleic acid.
It maintains optimal blood pressure and deters cardiovascular disease.
What does this mean? Unsaturated fatty acids such as Omega 3 fatty acids and linoleic acid are good for our health. These essential fatty acids lower the occurrences of coronary events. They show significant results in prevention of strokes and lowering of cholesterol levels.
5. Argan oil provides essential nutrients to protect the heart
Argan oil contains magnesium and the organic compound squalene in small quantities. Magnesium deficiency is often linked to occurrences of premature heart disease.
The magnesium present in Argan oil supplements for the body’s magnesium requirements. Squalene is an influential agent in governing cell signalling pathways.
What does this mean? Argan oil is blessed with organic and metallic compounds that essential to the body cells. Its introduction in the diet displays a significant drop in signs of heart aging while the organic compound squalene ensures that the cell division process occurs smoothly in the cardiac muscles.
6. It lowers high Blood Pressure
Due to its high nutritional value, it has been considered that Argan oil may possess hypertension relieving qualities.
In an experiment aimed at determining the same, a suitable animal model was used.
At the end of the study, there was a marked reduction in mean blood pressure. It was confirmed by means of an enzyme immunoassay.
What does this mean? It can be inferred that the enzymatic control mechanisms of Argan oil are responsible for its ability to curb blood pressure. The oil can be regarded to restrain oxidative stress and its administration is highly recommended to hypertensive patients.
7. It helps maintain the anticoagulant status
Argan oil has been scientifically proven to prolong clotting time in blood by intercepting platelet coagulation.
A study carried out on a group of individuals with dyslipidemia- a metabolic disorder characterized by elevated cholesterol and triglycerides in the plasma coupled with lower LDL than required indicated that dietary Argan oil shows promising coagulant features.
The subjects included Argan oil in their daily diet and were analysed for 3 weeks, at the end of which an impressive increase in HDL (26%) along with a significant drop in LDL was observed when compared with the corresponding control group.
What does this mean? From this result, it can be observed that the nutrients present in Argan oil such as squalene improved metabolic activities in cells. The ameliorated plasma oxidative status can also be attributed to the antioxidant compounds in Argan oil (Vitamin E, polyphenols, tocopherols etc.) It is therefore useful in avoiding thrombosis.
8. It reduces cardiovascular disease markers
The application of Argan oil in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases is gaining momentum and increasing evidence for the same inspires researchers to conduct experiments to estimate its full potential for the same.
One such analysis involved 40 healthy individuals assigned to two groups. The treatment group of 20 subjects added Argan oil to their breakfast (15g/d) for four weeks in contrast with the control group whose diet remained unaltered.
At the end of 30 days, the treatment group displayed raised Vitamin E and HDL concentrations.
Ameliorated plasma oxidant profiles, LDL and triacylglycerides levels were also seen.
What does this mean? Total cholesterol, Plasma oxidant status and Vitamin E concentrations are all suitable parameters indicative of the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. As Argan oil suitably regulated these metabolic markers through action of polyphenolic compounds and tocopherols against toxic free radicals in the blood, the susceptibility to heart disease is decreased notably.
9. It benefits in obesity
Obesity is a medical condition characterised by the accumulation of excessive fats in the body i.e., high levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides.
An experiment performed on an animal model of obesity showed great promise in Argan oil’s ability to supplement nutrients during obesity treatment.
However, post-Argan oil administration analysis showed interesting results. Total cholesterol, Triglyceride and insulin concentrations declined.
What does this mean? Argan oil possesses the ability to alter the body’s lipid content and oxidative profiles. This is due to the plant sterols present in it which lower blood cholesterol and act with the compound paraoxanase which refines metabolic activity. All of these are useful in countering the unsaturated fatty acids which are the chief cause of obesity.
10. It benefits in myocardial ischemia
Ischemia is a heart disease defined by the restricted blood supply to body organs. Cardiac antioxidant enzymes are the main contributors to its occurrence.
An animal model analysis showed that regular ingestion of Argan oil elevated the activity of the enzyme catalase. This increase in antioxidant enzyme increased cardiac repair in ischemic injury.
What does this mean? Catalase’s chief function is to monitor cell signals responsible for entry and exit of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood from the heart. By increasing its activity, the compound squalene present in Argan oil helps maintain healthy blood flow and reduces incidences of myocardial ischemia.
11. It benefits in diabetes
Multiple studies on type 2 diabetes patients show yet another useful application of this oil.
Its administration in 86 diabetes patients displayed how through its anti-atherogenic activities, the susceptibility of LDL and lipids to oxidation is significantly reduced.
This result was further validated by a similar study on an animal model. It showed antidiabetic and anti-hypertensive abilities thus bolstering its claim as a diabetes remedy.
What does this mean? Antioxidant compounds (phenols and tocopherols) act in combination with the large quantities of unsaturated fatty acids in the oil. This acts on blood sugar and ensures its metabolism thereby reversing the effects of diabetes.
12. It benefits in hyperlipidemia
An animal study was carried out assessing the effects of argan oil in hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia.
Dietary argan oil led to remarkable drops in LDL, body weight, triglycerides and total cholesterol were seen. This suggests that Argan oil regulates metabolic markers in the body.
What does this mean? Metabolic disorders can be combatted using Argan oil as the Vitamin E present in it activates enzyme producing cells. This does not allow high calorific cholesterol (HCC) to accumulate in the body and consequentially deters hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia.
Dosage of Argan oil For Heart Diseases
While the above-mentioned studies have shown varying concentrations of Argan oil being consumed, the recommended amount of culinary Argan oil to be taken with food should be approximately 15g on a daily basis.
The oil possesses a unique nutty flavour and can be added to food in various forms. Regular consumption of Argan oil can be carried out by adding it as a dressing to salads, using it as a dip for bread or sprinkling small amounts over pastas or rice.
The Moroccan delicacy “Amlou” can be prepared at home by grinding almonds along with Argan oil, it is similar in consistency to peanut butter.
Toxicology studies on the oil are not well documented therefore, there is much more extensive work required before full-on commercial use of the oil.
As such no side effects of argan oil have been reported. Avoid in case of nut allergy.
There is not much detail available regarding the safety of argan oil consumption in pregnancy and lactation.
The overall benefits being displayed by argan oil is overwhelming.
It is no surprise that this oil is showing increased growth in popularity as it has demonstrated high performance in relieving and reversing the toxic effects of heart disease.
Dieticians and nutritionists highly recommend its use.
It is a superfood in its own right. Monitored daily intake Argan oil would certainly pave way for a healthy body and heart.