For many years olive oil has been touted as a game changer when it comes to maintaining healthy bodies. It has loads of benefits. For example, it helps to protect against depression and stroke, among other things. However, nowadays there are other types of oils that boast a number of health benefits as well. But is it really the best alternative? Down below, you will find an overview of the culinary argan oil as compared to olive oil. Does it have any benefits and advantages over other edible oils? Could it substitute olive oil? Continue reading to find out.
What Makes An Edible Oil “Good”?
As mentioned above, olive oil does come with a few health benefits. For example, it helps fight osteoporosis, it reduces the risk of stroke, protects against breast cancer, etc. However, it seems that some scientists do not promote cooking with olive oil, reason being it may become a real health threat when overheated. Now this sounds scary, but toxic chemicals are said to be produced when the oil is exposed to high heat. In truth, most oils and fats become unstable when overheated. They can produce aldehydes and lipid peroxides as well as other dangerous compounds, which are linked to cancer.
It should be pointed out, however, that the aforementioned facts hold true with regard to polyunsaturated fats (well, most of the time). We don’t mean to bore you with this information but you need to familiarize yourself with the facts so that you can make a right decision. So, let’s go into more detail about the chemistry behind fats.
In short, there are two types of fatty acids: saturated and unsaturated. The latter are divided into polyunsaturated and monosaturated. The difference between all these is in the number of double bonds they have: polyunsaturated fatty acids boast more than two (or many) double bonds; monosaturated fatty acids are known to have just one double bond (mono means one), whereas saturated fats contain no double bonds at all. Now, let us tell you a secret: the fewer double bonds, the more stable the oil. Hence, saturated and monosaturated fatty acids are the best bet as they are heat resistant.
Where is olive oil on the fatty acids spectrum? Well, luckily, it mostly has monosaturated fatty acids, which means that it will be stable during cooking. Basically, it is 14% saturated, 11% polyunsaturated and 73% monosaturated. If that 11% is a concern for you, though, then you probably should steer clear of cooking with olive oil.
Yet another reason you might not want to stick with olive oil during your cooking adventures is that its flavor may change if heated too much. Bottom line: it is best to use olive oil to season salads or sauté veggies.
Is Argan Oil the Better Option?
We are not saying that olive oil is overestimated. It is indeed good to use. But there are other great options too and, truth be told, cold-pressed argan oil is the name of the game.
It comes with a cocktail of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins E and A, which help stabilize insulin levels, reduce joint pain, fight against prostate cancer, improve the nervous system, lower bad cholesterol, remove free radicals from the body and much, much more. In addition, it is up to 80% unsaturated, containing about 47% oleic acid and 32% linoleic acids (the so-called omega fatty acids). As a matter of fact, argan oil has more vitamin E than olive oil!
Argan oil is extracted from the fruits of a tree, which is isolated to the lands of Morocco. The argan forest is situated in southwestern parts of the country. Its limited spread makes argan oil a scarce resource.
Many of you probably know that argan oil is mostly used in cosmetics. Its wondrous properties work their magic on the skin and hair. It is a natural moisturizer that helps improve skin’s elasticity. The presence of vitamins E and A is the main reason why argan oil is capable of treating rashes, bug bites and skin infections as well as easing inflammation.
However, it has to be said that aside from a beauty product, the oil is becoming notorious for being a great culinary ingredient as well.
What makes argan oil perfect for cooking is the presence of omega fatty acids. However, please note that argan oil works best as a condiment. It can be used liberally on salads and desserts. It’s perfect for baking. Ideally, you can add it at the end of cooking. Think: steamed vegetables and fried eggs. If you add a few drops of argan oil to the concoction, you will enhance the flavor of the dish. But keep in mind that high temperatures can cause more harm than good to argan oil, so it is recommended to keep it out of the frying pan, except in the cases mentioned above.
With its amazing array of minerals, vitamins and fatty acids, argan oil is a great addition to every kitchen cabinet. It has numerous health benefits both if used as a culinary ingredient and as a beauty product. As a whole, incorporating argan oil into your beauty treatments as well as your meals can greatly improve your health.
Both argan oil and olive oil are recommended to use mostly for seasoning dishes and not for cooking. But as pointed above, argan oil has a number of health benefits, which make it a very good substitute to not just olive oil, but any other edible oil on the market. Try it and see the difference for yourself.