Olive Oil: Health Benefits & Nutritional InformationThe health benefits of olive oil include treatment for colon, breast cancer, diabetes, heart problems, arthritis, high cholesterol, weight loss, metabolism, digestion, aging and cancer. Olive oil has been used by mankind for many centuries. It is a staple ingredient for many culinary preparations and also serves a variety of medicinal purposes. Medical studies suggest that olive oil is loaded with health benefits.
The health benefits of olive oil include the lowering of the bad cholesterol level in our blood, as it is rich in monounsaturated fats. The extra virgin olive oil variety contains the highest level of antioxidant polyphenols and oleic acid. Olive oil is thus a healthy option compared to other vegetable oils.
But, olive oil also has lots of calories, so it should be used in moderate amounts for the best health results. The Food and Drug Administration recommends 2 tablespoons of olive oil every day to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Important Sources Of Olive Oil:
Olive oil, as we all know, is essential fruit oil, which we get from the olive tree crop found mainly in the Mediterranean regions. Olive oil is utilized for cooking purposes, developing cosmetic products and soaps, for medicinal purposes, and as pharmaceutical supplements. It can also be used as fuel and for lighting lamps.
Types Of Olive Oil
Various types of olive oil include the following:
Virgin Olive Oil:
This variety is used for cooking with a lower acid content.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
This is a much better variety and is made by cold pressing the olive fruit.
Pure Olive Oil:
This type is a combination of refined olive oil and virgin oils. It contains a highly acidic content.
It is used as a fuel and is not recommended for cooking purposes.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Olive oil has numerous beneficial qualities. Apart from being a good cooking aid, it is also known to have unique medicinal qualities. Some of them are as follows:
1. Reduces Heart Problems
Natural olive oil contains 70% monounsaturated fatty acid. As a result, it lowers cholesterol accumulation in the blood and reduces heart problems. It reduces the LDL, while at the same time increasing the HDL levels. The website of Montelcastelli Solutions Ltd. provides a table comparing the fatty acid composition of different types of oils.
2. Controls Blood Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol is the bad type of cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart attacks and pulmonary heart disease. Extra virgin olive oil, which is rich in almost 40 antioxidant chemicals, helps reduce the oxidation effects of LDL cholesterol.
3. Helps Weight Loss
Medical experts suggest that it is very difficult to gain weight from the mono-unsaturated fats present in olive oil. Experiments involving Mediterranean olive oil have shown positive results in regards to a reduction in human body weight.
4. Boosts Metabolism
Olive oil boosts the metabolism, the growth of good bone structure, and brain development in children. It is an excellent source ofvitamin E, which is very beneficial for older people.
5. Anti-inflammatory and Antimicrobial Properties
The phenols present in olive oil have anti-inflammatory properties. The antimicrobial characteristics of the oil are a result of its strong aroma.
6. Helps Digestion
Olive oil is known to aid in the digestive process. It is used as a medicinal oil to clean the digestive tract and to improve bowel movements.
7. Olive Oil For Constipation
Constipation is a problem that can cause a lot of discomfort. Olive oil is an excellent and effective remedy for constipation as it is safe and natural.
8. Aging Process
Rich in antioxidants, olive oil slows the natural aging process of the human body. Used in cosmetic products and natural herbal therapy, olive oil does wonders for the skin, which gets a natural shine and glow from the enriching oil.
9. Prevention of Gall Stones
This oil is also effective in preventing gall stones.
10. Healthy Cell Walls
Olive oil contains polyphenol which helps in stronger cell walls. It also increases the elasticity of arterial walls, protecting against various heart conditions.
11. Prevents Cancer
Olive oil is said to protect the human body against cancerous growth, especially bowel cancer. Medical research done at the prestigious Oxford University has shown positive signs that the acidic content of olive oil can prevent the commencement of rectum and bowel cancer. In the UK, bowel cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer, and kills almost twenty thousand citizens every year.
12. Prevents Breast Cancer
Recent research study suggests that hydroxytyrosol, a major component of olive oil may help prevent breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
13. Protects from Hypertension
Recent research study suggests that Mediterranean diet comprising of food rich in unsaturated fats (found in olive oil and nuts) and nitrite and nitrate (found in leafy green vegetables) may help protect you from hypertension.
There are several grades of olive oil, according to the flavor, aroma, acidic value and color. Readers are advised to buy authentic olive oil with proper evaluation for cooking or medicinal purposes.
14. Olive Oil Mouth Wash
Olive oil is beneficial in treating bad breath. Take one tablespoon of olive oil and rinse once or twice a day for two minutes. It helps to bind the bacteria together.
Olive Oil For Skin
Olive oil is beneficial for dry skin as it contains good amount of moisturizing agent.
16. Smooth Skin
It helps in regeneration of skin tissue and makes your skin smooth and soft. Add few drops of oil in your bath water to keep your skin baby soft.
17. Night Cream
Olive oil can be used as a night cream as it keeps your skin soft and supple. Massage a small amount of oil before going to bed to wake up to a healthy glow.
18. Dry Skin Remedy
If you suffer from dry, itchy skin a small drop of olive can help soothe and heal skin irritation.
19. Sunburn Cure
Olive oil can be used as a home remedy in treating sunburn. Apply olive oil directly to your affected area and let it absorb into the skin.
20. Anti-aging serum
Olive oil is beneficial in regenerating skin and increasing the skin elasticity and preventing premature aging.
21. Stretch Marks Treatment
The oil can be used in lightening stretch mark. Massage the oil on affected are before going to bed to treat stretch marks naturally.
22. Makeup Remover
Olive oil can be used to remove even the stubborn, waterproof makeup and is very gentle on your eyes.
23. Longer Eyelashes
Want longer lashes then use olive oil, regular application of olive oil on your eye lashes helps to get longer and stronger eyelashes.
24. Eye Cream
Use it as a natural eye cream and massage a few drops to reduce wrinkles and fine lines around the eyes.
25. Hydrates The Skin
Olive oil is beneficial for dry and scaly skin as it is used to slough off dead skin and used to enrich healthy layer beneath your kin. Just massage your body with olive oil.
26. Massage Oil
Massaging with olive oil helps in good blood circulation and gives you natural glowing and youthful skin.
27. Chapped Lips
Olive oil is beneficial in reducing dry, chapped lips. Apply olive oil in chapped lips and get smooth, glossy lips naturally.
28. Cracked Heel
Olive oil is beneficial in preventing heels from cracks. If you have cracked heels, regularly during bed time apply olive oil and wear soaks and let it work for whole night. When you wake up in morning you will get soft soles.
Olive Oil For Hair
29. Frizzy Hair
Olive oil is used to treat frizzy hairs. Apply a drop of olive oil as a natural hair serum and comb your hair.
30. Cuticle Oil
Olive oil is beneficial in getting moist and shiny nails, just rub few drops of olive oil on dry nails and cuticles before going to bed to strengthen nails.
31. Dry Hair
Olive oil is extremely effective in treating dry hair and regular application of olive oil with honey before taking bath will give you soft and smooth hair.
32. Stops Hair Loss And Give Long Shiny Hair
Olive oil is very effective for stopping hair fall. It gives strength to hair and makes your hairs long and healthy. Apply it on your scalp and massage for a few minutes. Then leave it for one hour and rinse off with shampoo.
Grades of Olive Oil
When you go in the market, you find different types of olive oils. What does extra virgin olive oil mean? What does US Fancy olive oil mean? There are two main types of gradations of olive oil that you will find, IOOC standards and US standards.
The International Olive Oil Council ( IOOC) has released the Trade Standard Applying to Olive Oils and Olive-Pomace Oils. The council has provided descriptions for different types of olive oils; some of these descriptions are given below:
Virgin Olive Oil:
Virgin olive oil is the oil that is prepared from purely mechanical and physical means. There is no alteration to the oil after processing. Edible virgin olive oil has a free acidity of not more than 2 grams per 100 grams. No food additives are permitted in the virgin olive oil.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
Extra virgin olive oil is a type of edible virgin olive oil, which has a free acidity content of no more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams. No additives are permitted in this oil.
Ordinary Virgin Olive Oil:
Ordinary virgin olive oil has a free acidity content of no more than 3.3 grams per 100 grams. This oil does not contain any additives.
Lampnate Virgin Olive Oil:
This is virgin olive oil not fit for human consumption. It has a free acidity content of more than 3.3 grams per 100 grams. It is used for refining and technical purposes.
Refined Olive Oil:
Refined olive oil is the refined form of virgin olive oil. It has a free acidity content of not more than 0.3 grams per 100 grams.
This is a blend of refined olive oil and edible virgin olive oil. It has a fatty acid content of not more than 1 gram per 100 grams.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the United States Standards for Grades of Olive Oil in 1948. These standards are still followed in the US and this has, to some extent, caused problems for consumers in purchasing the right kind of olive oil.
The USDA grades olive oil in the following four categories:
- US Grade A or US Fancy
- US Grade B or US Choice
- US Grade C or US Standard
- US Grade D or Substandard