THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS CORNER WITH DANA
The hills of Morocco’s Anti-Atlas mountains are flecked with irregularly shaped argan trees. Some are low to the ground, hunched over like shaggy trolls. Others have grown tall and outstretched, providing high branches for goats to scale and find food. The tree has been generous to the human population of Morocco, too. They provides millions of people, including many indigenous women, with jobs processing and selling argan goods, like internationally renowned hair oil. My recipes.com tells us the difference between cosmetic and culinary argan oil is simple: One’s toasted (the eating kind) and one’s not (the skin and hair kind). To make argan oil, you first take off the pulp of the dried argan fruit to get the inner nut alone. Then you crack the nut to get the kernel which are roasted, ground on a rotary quern, pressed, and decanted. The decanted oil is later filtered to various purities to become ready for your eating pleasure.
Why should we eat this oil? Here is what argon oil direct has to say:
Culinary Argan nut oil is high oleic acid and natural plant sterols.
This makes culinary Argan oil of interest in the regulation of blood cholesterol levels.
One 21 day study discovered that good HDL cholesterol levels in the blood had gone up significantly for subjects given edible Argan Oil.
In addition, it significantly reduced Triglycerides levels in the blood. Triglycerides are linked with cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and stroke.
Heart Disease & Strokes
Damage to the coronary artery walls predispose to forming thrombi leading to acute coronary syndromes such as unstable angina and MI and related effects such as stroke. Foods such as edible Argan Oil have many beneficial effects such as lowering triglycerides levels – which are linked to cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis and stroke .
Studies show that taking Alpha-linolenic acid omega-3 fatty acids leads to a 14% to 20% reduction of heart attacks. In addition the Omega fatty acids from this plant based source were found to be twice as effective as those derived from fish oils.
Further studies into blocking abnormal fatty deposit within the walls of arteries has also been examined.
In Morocco Culinary Argan Oil is used for its anti-inflammatory effects. It contains Triterpenoids, butyrospermol, known for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
In addition, raised levels of linoleic acid, in Culinary Argan Oil increase production of prostaglandins. This can help improve rheumatologic conditions. Antioxidants, flavonoids, sapponins and tocopherols are also found in high concentrations in Argan Oil. These nutrients promote good circulation and have a strong natural anti-inflammatory effects. It is interesting note that culinary Argan Oil has been used for heart health and that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have up to five times the risk of developing premature cardiovascular disease.
Two studies tested the use of Argan Oil in the diet for helping manage diabetes. A promising study revealed a hypoglycaemic effect within one month in test animals. A second study confirmed insulin-sensitising activity in cells tested with Argan press cake.
About Nut Oils, Weight Loss, B.M.I
Carol O’Neil, PhD, MPH, RD and associates evaluated data from 13,292 men and women aged 19 and older. Twenty-four hour data was analysed for the intake of almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Consumers of nuts were defined as those who consumed at least ¼ ounce tree nuts per day. Participants were found to have a decreased metabolic syndrome risk factors that included abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, elevated fasting glucose and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in comparison with those who did not consume nuts. Nut consumers also had a lower level of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation and indicator in conditions such as Arthritis.
Maureen Ternus, M.S., R.D., Executive Director of the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation (INC NREF), adds, “In light of these new data and the fact that the FDA has issued a qualified health claim for nuts and heart disease with a recommended intake nuts per day”.
I love new and exciting foods that have the ability to heal- try some!
Happy Healthy Eating! Dana