Olive oil is considered as the main dietary fiber in the Mediterranean diet. People cook in olive oil and also add it to their salad as salad dressings. It is also considered as an extremely healthy food item. Health benefits of olive oil are many as it does wonders to your skin and health. It is considered as one of the important Bible foods and helps in reducing heart problems, skin and brain problems. It is readily available in the market however, commercially sold olive oil may have GMO canola oil and herb flavors, so people may end up buying fake olive oil. Consuming adulterated or modified olive oils could pose as a health threat so it is crucial to find the pure olive oil.
Health Benefits Of Olive Oil
1. Nutritional Components Of Olive Oil
Olive oil contains good amounts of Vitamin K, E and healthy fatty acids. Extra virgin olive oil has a rich source of antioxidants and bioactive compounds. The main antioxidants present in olive oil are oleocanthal and oleuropein. These compounds protect the bad cholesterol or LDL from oxidation. The other nutritional value in per 100 grams that olive oil has are: 13.8% saturated fats, 73% monounsaturated fats, 9.7% omega-6, 0.76% omega-3, 72% vitamin E and 75% Vitamin K.
2. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
Heart diseases and strokes are the most common causes of deaths in the world. Olive oil protects against inflammation that may lead to heart diseases. Olive oil prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and thus helps prevent the starting of heart problems. It also helps improve the functioning of endothelium that lines the blood vessels. It has a good amount of vitamin K that helps to prevent blood clotting and also lowers blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure. Thus, people who consume a Mediterranean diet or consist of a lot of olive oil in their diet, are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular problems.
3. Aids Weight Loss & Prevents Obesity
A study showed conducted on 447 individuals in the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland showed that people who ate a higher fat and lower carb diet lost more weight than the individuals that were given a low fat diet. There was no change in the blood pressure but however, there was a difference in their triglycerides and high density lipoprotein cholesterol values. This is due to a fact that people who consume high amounts of healthy fats tend to find their diet more satisfying and are much likely to stick to it. A study was published in the Women’s Health Journal found that people who ate an olive oil rich diet achieved a greater weight loss then people who consumed a lower fat diet. This was done in an eight week trial. Following this trial, participants chose to continue consuming an olive oil rich diet for the next six months of the follow up period. Thus, this is one of the health benefits of olive oil.
4. Prevents Diabetes
Olive consists of polyunsaturated as well as monounsaturated fats. Studies suggest that these fats increase insulin sensitivity and are likely to reduce the risk of type 2 Diabetes. Eating carbohydrates can elevate the blood sugar levels whereas fats stabilize blood sugar levels and insulin. Consuming olive oil after a meal can make you feel satisfied and lessens sugar cravings. This will help overeating and further lowers the complications caused by diabetes.
5. Stabilizes Hormone Levels
Olive oil is known to help regulate the thyroid, pituitary gland as well as adrenal glands. They all play a role in production and balancing sex hormones. Olive oil is also rich in Vitamin E which helps in the production of estrogen and thus can prevent infertility or menopause.
6. Protects Against Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is characterized by the chronic inflammation of the large intestine. It is similar to that of Crohn’s disease. A study Dr. Andrew Hart and his team gathered together about 25000 people in Norfolk, England. Their ages were between 40 to 65 years and they were a part of the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Diet and cancer) study I around 1993 to 1997. None of them suffered from ulcerative colitis. During this time, they were regularly completed questionnaires and kept a diary of their diet and about their health. A follow up had been conducted in 2004, to check to see who had developed ulcerative colitis and who didn’t. They found that individuals with the highest consumption of oleic acid (component of olive oil) had a 90% lower risk of developing that disease as compared to those who didn’t. Dr Hart confirmed that the Oleic acid may have prevented the chemicals in the bowel that can aggravate inflammation in this disease. And also that olive oil may have a protective effect over this disease.
7. Protects The Liver
Studies have been done on lab rats that were given moderately toxic herbicide along with a diet containing olive oil. It was shown that the olive oil partially protected the liver from liver damage. Olive oil has antioxidants that neutralize free radicals that are formed from harmful toxins and that result in cell damage. Thus, olive oil helps to take the overload of detoxification off the liver and thus, may protect the liver. You can also go through other liver cleansing foods which help you to protect your liver.
8. Prevents Strokes
Dr Samieri and team from the University of Bordeaux and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in France found that older people who regularly consumed olive oil has a 41% lower risk of suffering a stroke as compared to people who do not consume it. Thus, one of the health benefits of olive oil is that it may help prevent strokes.
9. Exfoliates The Skin
The health benefits of olive oil for the skin are many and one is that it can be used to exfoliate the skin. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and natural sea salt and mix it together. Gently scrub it on the skin and leave it on for a few minutes and wash off. The natural sea salt and the deep action of the oil remove the dead skin cells and leave the skin glowing and youthful.
10. Reduces The Risk Of Depression
According to some studies, olive oil is thought to reduce the risk of depression. Researchers gathered 12000 participants and conducted a study over a period of 6 years. The number of people with depression was noted and everyone was asked regularly to fill out questionnaires. The researchers found that people who consumed trans fat were more likely to develop depression up to 48% while people whose dietary fats came from olive oil were less likely to. The more amount of trans fat consumed, the higher the risk.
11. Balances Cholesterol Levels
One of the health benefits of olive oil is that it can help to lower and maintain levels of cholesterol in healthy manner. A study was conducted that showed that people who ate olive oil supplements for over a span of 6 weeks showed lower LDL cholesterol as compared to those that didn’t.
12. Reduce The Risk Of Acute Pancreatitis
Acute pancreatitis is characterized by the sudden inflammation of the pancreas. A study was conducted suggested that olive oil may help protect against acute pancreatitis. And this may be due to the fact that olive oil has oleic acid and hydroxytyrosol. They affect the development of this chronic disease.
13. Reduces The Risk Of Azheimer’s Disease & Dementia
Oleocanthal is a phenolic compound that is found in extra virgin olive oil. Studies have suggested that extra virgin oil derived oleocanthal has a potential in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative dementias. This is one of olive oil health benefits.
14. Reduce The Risk Of Breast Cancer
Olive oil has polyunsatured fats that are thought by researchers to reduce the aggressiveness of tumors that causes cancers. Studies have shown where extra virgin olive oil suppresses the activity of an oncogene and promotes tumor cell death.
15. Fights Mood Disorders
Olive oil has healthy fats that needed for the brain development as well as memory. People consuming a low-fat diet are linked to mood disorders as they do not get a sufficient amount of dopamine and serotonin that causes a person to feel pleasure. These neurotransmitters are associated also with, good sleep and thought processing.
16. Reduces Constipation
Olive oil benefits us also by working as a natural laxative. Just by drinking it or adding it to salad dressing can help your digestive tract and allows smooth passage of stools. Olive oil has monounsaturated fats that help the food move through the colon smoothly by causing less friction to occur.
17. Prevents Kidney Stones
Olive oil along with lemon juice have been used to naturally eliminate kidney stones. Kidney stones are generally formed due to the deposits of minerals in the kidneys. Boil 2 ounces each of olive oil and lemon juice in water. Let it cool down and consume, this is a natural remedy but however, advice from your doctor is necessary before you try.
18. Strengthens Bones
Studies have shown that people, who consume the Mediterranean diet, often are found to have larger amounts of osteocalcin present in their bones which indicates healthy bones.
19. Helps In Diluting Ear Wax
The other health benefits of olive oil are that if you warm it, it will help in diluting the ear wax. Take warm olive oil in a clean and sterilized dropper and allow a few drops to fall in your ear canal. Leave it in for 10 to 15 minutes and then turn your ear downwards and let it drain out.
20. Skin Moisturizer
Use about a spoon of extra virgin olive oil and massage it on the body right after you have showered and your body is damp. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. You can also apply it on your face and leave it on overnight and wash it off in the morning. The health benefits of olive oil are that they are rich in antioxidants that can protect the skin from external harmful factors and also moisturize the skin.
21. Make Up Remover
Use 1/3 cup of yogurt, ¼ cup of honey and two tablespoons of olive oil. Mix thoroughly and apply it to a cotton swab. Gently remove your make up with this. Additionally, you can also rub it around your eyes so that it will soften the skin around your eyes and give you a youthful looking skin.
22. Anti Aging Cream
Mix together 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Add this on your skin if it is rough, dry and scaly. Extra virgin olive oil for skin can bring back elasticity to the skin and reduce the fine lines and wrinkles in the skin, all naturally.
23. Promotes Healthy Hair
Other health benefits of olive oil are that it keeps the hair attractive and healthy. Add a half a cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of honey and an egg yolk and mix together. Apply this mixture to the hair and leave it on for about 20 minutes and then was it with lukewarm water. Then you can use any conditioner. As olive oil has a good amount of Vitamin E, it moisturizes as well as reduces hair loss. Olive oil also contains other nutrients like magnesium, zinc, sulfur, calcium and Vitamin B that helps to strengthen the hair and reduce breakage. The egg yolk has a lot of protein that further provides the essential nutrients to the hair.
24. Promotes Nail Health
Take three tablespoons of olive oil and dip a cotton swab in it. Then, add this oil to the nails and leave it on for a few minutes. Wash it with lukewarm water. Olive oil has vitamin E that helps to strengthen the nails and also protects them from infections. Also, it promotes the appearance.
25. Shaving Cream
Olive oil can be used as a shaving cream if you have sensitive skin. Just apply it instead of your normal shaving foam and continue to shave. It will ultimately leave your skin moisturized and silky smooth naturally.
Tips On Buying Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Extra virgin olive oil is made by cold-pressing and is not heated and also does not use chemicals for refinement. Heating can cause the fatty acids and nutrients present in it to be destroyed.
- Virgin olive oil: This comes from second pressing after the extra virgin olive oil is made. It may not be as pure as the extra virgin olive oil, but can still be used as a pure olive oil.
- Light olive oil: This is usually mixed with other vegetable oils or even low quality oils, so it is not the pure form of oil. It may also be heat manufactured.
So, this will help you the next time you go shopping and note that it will only help if you get the real stuff.