Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olives (the fruit of Olea europaea; family Oleaceae), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin.
The oil is produced by pressing whole olives. It is commonly used in cooking, for frying foods or as a salad dressing. It is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps and has additional uses in some religions.
In folk medicine, olive oil has been used for every thing from reducing muscle aches and hangovers, to use as an aphrodisiac, laxative and sedative.
Olive oil is naturally cholesterol, sodium and carbohydrate-free. Rich in antioxidants, vitamin K, and vitamin E, olive oil boasts a good nutritional profile. It has a higher concentration of mono-saturated fat like oleic acid and palmitoleic acid.
Below are more health benefits of Olive oil:
Olive oil is known to aid in the digestive process. It is used as a medicinal oil to clean the digestive tract and improve bowel movements.
As you age, your skin starts to sag and develop wrinkles. You can delay these signs of aging with olive oil. Rich in antioxidants, olive oil slows the natural aging process of the human body. The monounsaturated fats found in olive oil help cells maintain their integrity. Used in cosmetic products and natural herbal therapy, it does wonders for the skin by giving it a natural shine
Strengthens cell walls
A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences states that olive oil contains polyphenols which help in building stronger cell walls. It also increases the elasticity of arterial walls, protecting you against various heart conditions.
Contain Anti cancer potentials
Olive oil is said to protect the human body against cancerous growth, especially bowel cancer, along with breast and skin cancer. Medical research done at Oxford University has shown positive signs that this oil can prevent the commencement of rectum and bowel cancer.
The Carcinogenesis journal has covered a study in 2018 suggesting that the extra virgin variety is God sent when it comes to preventing cancer cell growth in the body.
Another study confirms the same effect and also reveals that out of all, olive oil has shown a helpful effect on breast cancer. Hydroxytyrosol, a major component of the oil may help prevent breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
Aids in weight loss
Medical experts suggest that it is very difficult to gain weight from the mono-unsaturated fats present in olive oil. Research on the Mediterranean oil has shown positive results with regards to using it for weight loss as it contains healthy fats and is a great alternative for butter and other oils loaded with calories. Olive oil can increase the break down of food after a meal and help reduce food intake by making you feel fuller with smaller portions. When combined with other vegetables or legumes in dishes, olive oil can have positive effects on the digestive system which can directly impact weight regulation.
Ways to eat olive oil
Use instead of butter, add to salad, rub on fish and meat before baking, grilling or frying, you can drink it. You can add some to your smoothies (blended fruits) .
Choosing an original olive oil
The best type is extra virgin olive oil. It is extracted using natural methods and standardized for purity and certain sensory qualities like taste and smell. Olive oil that is truly extra virgin has a distinctive taste and is high in phenolic antioxidants, the main reason why (real) olive oil is so beneficial.
But there is one major problem with olive oil; there are so many lower quality versions that have been extracted using chemicals or even diluted with other cheaper oils around. There is a lot of fraud going on in the olive oil market, labels can lie. “Bottled in Italy” doesn’t make it better; being labelled extra virgin olive oil does not mean it is too.
Things you must look out for when buying your olive oil:
When buying olive oil, choose a dark glass or other containers that protect against light. Buy the quantity that you will use up quickly and keep it well sealed in a cool, dark place.
To ensure freshness, look for bottles with a “best by” date or better still a date of harvest. Try to buy oils only from this year’s harvest. “Best by” dates are usually two years from the time an oil was bottled, so if you see a date that is two years away, the oil is more likely to be fresh.
Look for certification. It’s just like when you want to buy a drug and you are looking out for a brand by a known pharmaceutical company, their logo and NAFDAC number. If the oil you picked is from Carlifornia, then check for something like Carlifornia olive oil council, certified extra virgin.