Grape seed oil and argan oil have both proven to be excellent products in the global health and beauty industries over the past few years. Grape seed oil is obtained by pressing the seeds of grapes — an abundant by product of the winemaking industry; argan oil is similarly extracted with the nut-like kernels of the argan fruit ground and pressed to release the natural oils. However, while grape seed oil has the potential to be processed in almost all wine producing parts of the world (such as France, United States, Italy, Spain, China, etc.) argan trees (Argania spinosa L.) with their oil packed kernels are endemic to Morocco.
Both oils have their uses and benefits in the culinary world. Grape seed oil’s clean, light taste and high polyunsaturated fat content makes it excellent for making mayonnaise, salad dressings and herb-oil infusions. It is used to make various baked foods such as waffles and pancakes, and even serves as a natural preservative when it is sprayed on raisins. Despite these many uses, grape seed oil is not recommended for everyday cooking as polyunsaturated fats are easily damaged by heat. When argan oil is being prepared for culinary use, the argan kernels are gently roasted prior to pressing in order to imbue the oil with a delightful nutty scent. It is used to make various dips for bread, served on couscous or used to dress salads. Argan oil is also used to make amlou, a thick brown paste produced by grinding roast almond and argan oil, and then mixing it with honey.
Regular consumption of grape seed oil and argan oil has many beneficial effects on the human body. Grape seed oil is packed with polyphenols and flavonoids which have high antioxidant activity. These antioxidants provide anticancer benefits, immune system boosts, antimicrobial activities, cardiovascular protection, anti-inflammation activities and even improve cellular signaling pathways. Argan oil contains tocopherols, phenols, fatty acids, squalene and carotenes. Scientific studies show that daily consumption of argan oil can help to prevent obesity, various cancers and cardiovascular diseases. It is also used to soothe rheumatic and arthritic pain.
Grape seed oil and argan oil are both very popular as “all natural” beauty products. Grape seed oil is highly prized for its emollient (moisturizing) properties. It is also used in the manufacture of various cosmetics such as creams, lip balm, sunblock, lotion and moisturizers. The antioxidant activity of its polyphenols also helps to minimize signs of aging by limiting the damage of free radicals on the skin. Grape seed oil contains linoleic acid which nourishes and repairs the skin. Linoleic acid is also effective in fighting common skin conditions such as eczema, acne and dermatitis. Additionally, grape seed oil contains vitamin E which helps to maintain firm, smooth skin. It is also widely used to promote the growth and health of hair. Argan oil also has its cosmetics benefits and is widely used in the treatment of skin and hair. It is very effective as a moisturizer and is often used to treat wrinkles, dry scaly skin, burns and acne. The high fatty acid content adds strength to brittle hair and improves its protein structure. As it is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, argan oil is also widely used in the manufacture of shampoos and conditioners to repair hair damage caused by hair care tools, coloring and straightening treatments and even excessive sunlight.
While the benefits of grape seed oil and argan oil are clear for all to see, there are other factors which need to be considered by health conscious consumers, namely: (1) availability, (2) shelf life and (3) price. With winemaking very much a global enterprise, grape seed oil is often readily available in most health stores around the world. However, despite high demand, pure argan oil is almost always in short supply due to the limited areas in which the argan tree is able to grow. While grape seed oil has a relatively short shelf life of 6-9 months, argan oil has an even shorter shelf life of 3-6 months. These factors, in addition to difficult extraction methods contribute to the high cost of argan oil in comparison to grape seed oil. On today’s market a 16 ounce bottle of grape seed oil can be bought for less than USD $10.00; a similar bottle of pure argan oil will fetch close to USD $200.00. These natural oils are undoubtedly great assets for promoting good health — but with grape seed oil, good health can definitely be had without hurting your pocket.
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