The debate of which oil is the best and the healthiest is always there and we are not here to announce the winner, but to talk about one of the leading contestants for the title – Olive oil. The oil made from olive fruits has long been used both for internal consumption as well as for topical uses. Virgin olive oil is an extremely nutritious oil with lot of therapeutic benefits as well.
According to statistics of 2013, the top three countries producing olive oil are Spain, Italy and Greece. Many other countries also produce olive oil albeit in smaller volumes. In spite of fairly huge production of olive oil, extra virgin olive oil is only 10% of the total oil produced. This makes extra virgin olive oil more expensive. Due to extensive exports, olive oil is now available across the globe and is being increasingly used in Asian countries as well.
Olive oil is rich in Omega fatty acids, Mono unsaturated fat, Vitamin E and K. The composition of mono unsaturated fat and the rich anti-oxidants present in olive oil is what primarily differentiates it from its counterparts. Since olive oil can be used to make a variety of dishes, it is easier to include this oil in your everyday diet.
Key Benefits of internal use
Olive oil has in-numerous benefits of which we would be seeing just a few:
Prevents breast cancer
A study was conducted sometime back which showed that women who used olive oil as their cooking oil and in their diet had 62 percent lesser risk of breast cancer. This however cannot be extrapolated due to the reason that since all these women ate a Mediterranean diet, it could also be their diet and balance of the right nutrition. The role of olive oil is however undeniable here. All these women had an above average BMI and still managed to do well due their regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil.
The cynic that I am, although the study showed excellent results, since the study was constructed in Spain and this country is the biggest producer of olives, I did not buy these results up front. But further research and probing on the nutrition value of olive oil has led me to believe that this cancer preventive property of olive oil is very likely due to the presence of oleic acid in olive oil .
Good for cardio-vascular health
Okay, so I am going to be frank here. If you ask me – which is better, monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) or saturated fats? The answer would be monosaturated fat. But if you ask me, oil or no oil? Then the answer would be ‘no oil’. In order to take care of your heart, ideally we should cut down on fats / oils of all kinds. But, if you do want to use / consume oil, then olive oil is one of the healthier options for you. So while olive oil may be beneficial in lot of ways, after all, it is still fat. When people claim that olive oil helps to reduce risk of stroke, they mean that in comparison with other oils with lesser MUFAs.
Lowers blood pressure levels
Olive oil is said to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. But there is a method to consume the oil.
How to consume?
Olive oil when used along with greens, nuts, avocado and vegetables like a salad, causes a nitro fatty acid to be created. These fatty acids inhibit a blood pressure elevating enzyme and thus helps to regulate blood pressure. So don’t deep fry cheese balls in olive oil and complain that your blood pressure isn’t coming down!
One of the major reasons for various diseases is chronic inflammation. Not only heart diseases, but it also causes arthiritis and diabetes for many. The anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil helps to combat such diseases. Oil pulling with olive oil has been found to have excellent benefits in the treatment of arthritis. But one need not use extra virgin olive oil for oil pulling – just to make it lighter on your pocket!
Excellent skin moisturiser
A few drops of olive oil can be applied on your face and neck to moisturise the skin effectively. Apply a little ollive oil with your finger tips, massage for a minute or two and leave it on for ten to fifteen minutes before your bath. You can follow it with your usual face wash.
Regular application of olive oil can reduce the occurrence of acne and clear existing acne spots.
- Take gram flour in a cup.
- Add a teaspoon of lemon juice.
- Add three teaspoons of olive oil.
- Add water and mix to make a paste.
- Apply this pack and wash it off after 20 minutes before you go to bed.
Helps to reduce hair fall
- Regular application of olive oil can reduce hair fall.
- Heat olive oil and massage it into your scalp.
- After about 20 minutes, dip a towel in hot water and wrap this towel around your head and hair.
- After a couple of minutes, rinse the towel and repeat for a few more times.
- Follow with a usual shampoo wash.
Can treat cracked lips
A drop or two of olive oil can be applied on cracked lips overnight to get an instant remedy.
There are various other benefits of olive oil not discussed above. Do spend some more time and read up about this oil and use it well for the best benefit.