Native to Mediterranean region, the humble olive currently enjoys a multinational reputation and finds its usability in different forms across the globe. It has become favourite of chefs when it comes to choosing a cooking oil which is both healthy and rich in flavour. Whether it's for cooking or skin care or hair health or heart happiness; olive oil fills the bill and with full potency. Though many benefits of Olive Oil are known; many are still unexplored. Let us have a look at 25 Health Benefits Of Olive Oil you need to Know About.
Table of Content
What is Olive Oil And What Are Its Types?
The oil obtained by crushing fruit of the olive tree is referred as Olive Oil. Earlier olives were crushed between the stones in order to obtain oil which has now been replaced by steel blades. The crushed paste of the fruit releases oil droplets in a process called maceration.
There are majorly three types of olive oil that are available:
Refined Olive Oils
Refining of olive oil involves the use of heat and solvents in order to neutralize the taste of the oil and in the process producer end up using those olives as well which are not in their best conditions.
Unrefined Olive Oils
These oils do not undergo any chemical refining process; hence, producers use good quality fruit for unrefined olive oils. Further, they can be either” Virgin “ or: extra Virgin”.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
The taste of the fruit remains intact in Extra virgin olive oil and there is a lot of care that is taken during its production process. It is considered to be of the highest grade of the olive oil.
What are Cold Pressed Olive Oils?
The oil obtained by pressing the olive fruit with modern steel press is called cold pressed olive oil. This ensures vitamin, flavour and antioxidant are kept intact which means real health benefits of olive oil are retained in this process.This process is contrary to general process of solvent extraction and chemical refining.
Olive Oil - Nutritional Facts
It's the unsaturated fatty acid (73%) that form the major constituent of olive oil. Generally, fats are considered to be unhealthy, however ; the one found in olive oil called oleic acid is very healthy. 24% of olive oil is saturated fats and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid.
The energy content of olive oil is also quite high; 100g of oil provides 884 calories. One of the important benefits of olive oil lies in the fact that it is ideal for consumption since it has a high ratio of monounsaturated fatty acid to saturated fatty acids. Olive oil is loaded with antioxidants and has a fair amount of vitamin E and K.
25 Health Benefits of Olive Oil You Need to Know About
There are numerous ways through which olive oil impacts and improves lives; from fighting dreaded diseases like cancer to taking care of our skin and hair. Researches are still going on to further explore and points to its existing beneficial profile. Let's rediscover 25 Health Benefits of Olive Oil which one should know:
Reducing and Preventing Diseases
1. Lowers Cholesterol Level and Reduces Heart Diseases
Since more than 70% of olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acid; it helps in reducing the oxidative effect of LDL cholesterol and in turn reducing heart ailments. A research on consumption of olive oil and chances of stroke revealed that regular consumption of this oil leads to the reduction in chances of stroke by 41%.
2. Reduces Risk of Cancer
Olive oil is found to be effective against cancer. Oleocanthal, a phytonutrient found in Olive oil has anti-inflammatory effect and hence it reduces chances of breast cancer and its relapse (recurrence). Research has also shown the positive relation of consumption of olive oil and reduction in chances of getting Bowel and Rectum Cancer.
3. Prevents Diabetes
Health Benefits of Olive Oil also comes from its ability to improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity which results in prevention of diabetes.
4. Prevents Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease of bone where the bone weakens as the age progresses. Olive oil helps in the absorption of calcium by the bones and thus, prevents or delays the onset of osteoporosis in elderly.
5. Prevents Rheumatoid arthritis
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, Olive oil prevents rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease of joints.
6. Prevents Obesity
Olive oil has satiation power which means one can feel full without consuming much and so it aids in weight loss.
7. Prevents Hypertension
A study conducted by the University of California recommends that consumption of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil ) helps in reducing blood pressure; both systolic and diastolic.
8. Prevents Alzheimer's Disease
A study published in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology shows that EVOO may help in preventing and shielding the brain from the toxic effect of some of the substances that can cause Alzheimer’s. Olive oil is rich in omega -3 and omega-6 so overall also it is good for memory and cognitive health of the brain.
10. Prevents Gut Issues
Olive oil helps in the digestive process and improved bowel functioning.
11. Reduces Depression
Olive oil is shown to increase the level of a neurotransmitter called serotonin whose main function is to regulate mood and social behaviour. Increased level of serotonin leads to lowered levels of depression.
12. Prevents Gallstone
Olive oil helps in preventing Gallstone - a lesser known benefit among other health benefits of Olive oil.
13. Prevents Ulcerative Colitis
Olive oil helps in preventing ulcerative colitis owing to its anti-inflammatory property again. Ulcerative colitis is a disease of large intestine.
Olive Oil benefits for Face and Skin Health
14. As Skin Moisturizer
One of the most important benefits of Olive oil is as a moisturizer since it penetrates deep and keeps skin soft and gentle.
15. Remedy for Extra Dry Skin
Since it has moisturizing characteristics, it is considered as a treatment option when skin gets extra dry.
15. Polishing of Skin and as a Scrub for Body
EVOO when combined with strawberries can act as a body scrub and can also be used as a face cleanser by removing dirt and dead skin cells.
16. Healing Skin of cracked heel
Olive oil helps with cracked heel repair because of its moisturizing properties.
17. Stronger Nail
Olive Oil is found to be useful in keeping nail soft promoting its growth and strength.
Olive Oil Benefits and Uses for Hair
18. Makes Hair Longer and Stronger
By removing sebum, a substance which hinders growth of hair, olive oil ensures long hair and by providing necessary vitamins it ensures stronger hair.
19. Makes them soft and more manageable
Applying warm olive oil to the scalp and leaving it for half an hour helps in giving a desired style to the hair; it also helps in smoothing of the rough texture of hair.
20. Keeps dandruff at bay
Few drops of lemon when squeezed in olive oil and applied over scalp helps in getting rid of dandruff.
Health benefit of olive oil for the baby - Ways and Uses
21.Good for body massage of the baby
Since it promotes relaxation and has a positive effect on hormones controlling stress, it is considered to be good for massaging if there are no underlying skin conditions like eczema.
22. For treating diaper rashes
Take 2 teaspoon of EVOO (extra Virgin Olive oil), mix with one teaspoon of water and apply it on the affected areas. This helps in treating the rashes.
23. Good for baby’s hair and diet.
Another important health benefit of Olive oil comes in the form of its use in baby’s hair and diet.
[Also read: 4 Benefits of Olive Oil for New Moms]
Benefits of Olive Oil for Cooking - Should it be considered for Cooking?
There are two parameters based on which an oil is considered to be suitable or unsuitable for cooking: Smoke Point and Oxidative Stability which in case of olive oil are found to be pretty good hence one should consider this oil for cooking. There are various signs of evidence which have already established the health benefit of using olive oil in cooking.
24. Safe for cooking
When exposed to high heat for a long period of time, the olive oil did not break into any significant amount of harmful compound establishing its safety for cooking.
25. Good Choice for Most cooking Methods
Since the smoke point of EVOO is between 190℃ to 215℃ which is moderately high, it is considered to be good enough for most of the cooking methods.
Side Effects Of Olive Oil
Though olive oil health benefits are well known; there are some side effects of the oil too. If used excessively, it can cause allergic reactions to the skin likes rashes and inflammation in people who are sensitive to it. It can also cause minor diarrhoea in some. Over consumption of this oil may lead to an excessive drop in blood pressure leading to stroke.