Olive Oil: Delightful Golden Liquid
Good healthy food and taste are not always synonymous with each other- although the same is not true in the case of olive oil– one of the healthiest oils in the world. Used globally for its unique flavour and taste, olive oil is appreciated for its myriad health benefits besides a few other interestingly surprising uses at home as well as on the body. In this article, let us unravel the mysteries of this restorative phenomenon and let us further explore a few facts about this super food.
History and Mythology
The olive fruit as well as the tree have played a significant part in Greek mythology with the olive wreath known as kotinos being given as a prize to Olympic winners. According to ancient folklore, the city of Athens attained its name because Goddess Athena bestowed an olive upon the Greeks. Zeus had promised to give Attica to the god or goddess who made the most beneficial discovery. Athena’s gift of olive, useful for light, heat, food, medicine and perfume was chosen as a more peaceful invention than Poseidon’s horse touted as a swift and dominant vehicle of war. Athena planted the original olive tree on a rocky hill known as Acropolis where the existing trees are said to be from the roots of the original tree. Furthermore, Homer considered olive oil as liquid gold, and Thomas Jefferson proclaimed it the richest gift of heaven. Therefore, the oil was cherished the greatest treasure when gifted this liquid gold.
Origin and Source
Olive oil is a fat acquired from the fruit of Olea europaea (olive) known as Oleaceae, belonging to the family of a traditional tree in the Mediterranean Basin. The oil extracted via mechanical or chemical process is used throughout the world, although the oil has remained a staple of Greek cuisine. Hence, according to history Greece remains the place of origin for olive oil.
First Oil Extraction
The first recorded extraction of olive oil is from the Hebrew Bible during the 13th century BC, which took place during the Exodus from Egypt. During this time, the oil was obtained through squeezing the berries manually by hands and stored in special containers under protection of the priests.
Olive oil is extracted by pressing or crushing olives. It is classified depending on the amount of processing involved.
Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin indicates the oil produced by the use of physical means and no chemical treatment with acidity less than 1.5%, having good taste.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil is derived from virgin oil production. It contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is said to have superior taste
Pure Olive Oil
Oils labelled as pure olive oil or Olive oil is usually a blend of refined and virgin production oil of no more than 2% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavour
Light olive oil
Light olive oil undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavour.
|Olive Oil Nutritional value per 100 g|
|Energy||3,701 kJ (885 kcal)|
|omega‑3 fat||<1.5 g|
|omega‑6 fat||3.5–21 g|
|Vitamin E||14 mg (93%)|
|Vitamin K||62 μg (59%)|
|Oleic acid||55 to 83%|
|Linoleic acid||3.5 to 21%|
|Palmitic acid||7.5 to 20%|
|Stearic acid||0.5 to 5%|
|α-Linolenic acid||0 to 1.5%|
Awesome Health Perks
Cardio Protective Benefits
Olive oil comprising primarily of monounsaturated fatty acids, consists of 75% of the fatty acid content in olive oil known as oleic acid. This substance is correlated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
A process of plaque formation, thickening and blocking of the arteries known as Atherosclerosis can often lead to heart attacks and stroke. However, the anti-oxidants elements in olive oil help decrease atherosclerosis
Consumption of olive oil on a regular basis has favourable effects on cholesterol and oxidation of LDL cholesterol. This is because of the presence of a chemical, oleuropein along with carotenoids and antioxidants such as vitamin E. These offer anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, antihypertensive as well as vasodilator effects.
Stabilises Blood Pressure
Olive oil helps assists in stabilizing blood pressure. its minor components, such as alpha-tocopherol, polyphenols, and other phenolic compounds combined with a high oleic acid content helps lower blood pressure. Nitric acid a chemical compound present in the body produced through the digestion of foods containing nitrate is a natural alternative for lowering high blood pressure. This chemical besides relaxing the arteries decreases vascular smooth muscle tone and inhibits blood from clotting rapidly. When arteries relax, the blood pressure decreases with an enhanced flow of blood throughout the body.
Research shows, including olive oil in ones diet controls diabetes better. Some researches show that monounsaturated fat could actually help to lower blood sugar levels; one study found that blood sugar levels were lower in diabetics who ate a diet rich in monounsaturated fat than those who simply ate a low-fat diet.
Antioxidants present in olive oil helps inhibit free radical cells thereby protecting from degenerative diseases.
Olive oil plays an important part in reducing risk of certain types of cancer, such as colon, breast, ovarian, and prostate. According to a study by a European research team, a waxy hydrocarbon that coats the skin of olives called triterpenes, helped trigger a natural process of death in human cancer cells. A study published in the issue of Annals of Oncology has identified oleic acid as having the ability to reduce the effect of an oncogene, a gene that will turn a host cell into a cancer cell.
The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil prevent Asthma.
Olive Oil for Weight Loss
Research suggests that replacing other types of fats with monounsaturated fat, especially olive oil benefits to lose a moderate amount of weight without additional food restriction or physical activity. Some studies showed that when people substituted monounsaturated-fat-rich olive oil for saturated fat, they either maintained their weight or lost weight. A diet high in monounsaturated fat and low in carbohydrates actually resulted in more weight loss than a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet
Anti inflammatory conditions
Olive oil contains high levels of phytonutrients, polyphenols and mono-unsaturated healthy fats, which help, reduce the inflammation associated with conditions like asthma, osteoporosis, and arthritis.
Olive oil is known to be gentle on the digestive system. In fact, its protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.
Olive oil is used as a natural remedy for earaches; simply apply some heated or ambient-temperature oil to the ear that hurts for relief and regulation of excess wax
Many people believe that taking a sip of olive oil before heading to bed can help lubricate your throat muscles, thus cutting down on snoring. Others have noted that downing a teaspoon of olive oil can help soothe a scratchy or ticklish throat.
According to Spanish researchers a diet rich in olive oil can protect from mental illness. A higher intake of olive oil and polyunsaturated fats found in fatty fish and vegetable oils was associated with a lower risk of depression.
Some research has shown that olive oil can prevent and possibly even reverse memory loss that accompanies Alzheimer’s disease.
As per a new study consumption of monounsaturated fats mainly in the form of olive oil, daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, and low-fat dairy products, weekly consumption of ﬁsh, poultry, legumes, and a relatively low consumption of red meat, may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Benefits of Olive Oil for Skin
Olive oil has the added advantage of providing strong antioxidants, like Vitamins A and E that help repair and renew skin that has been damaged from overexposure to sun, environmental pollution, and other modern-day hazards – like cigarette smoke and junk food. These antioxidants have the natural ability to stimulate cells and return skin to a firmer, smoother, and healthier state.
Applying olive oil can benefit in the following skin conditions:
- Prevents pimples and clogging pores
- Moisturizes Chapped lips
- Prevent premature skin aging
- Treats sunburn
- Treat Diaper Rash
- Makes a great after shave
- Substitute for shaving cream
- Used in a wide variety of soaps, lotions, skin creams, shampoos and other cosmetic products
- Reduce appearance of stretch marks
- Removes makeup
- Makes a safe sunless tan
- Smoothes and moisturize rough, dry feet
- Strengthens weak and brittle nails (also see benefits of Olive Oil for Nails)
Benefits of Olive Oil for Hair
Rich in polyphenols with anti bacterial and anti fungal properties Olive oil promotes healthier and more manageable hair. Olive oil hair treatment results in the scalp becoming cleaner and tends to smoothen out frizzy dry hair, improves elasticity and prevents breakage. A lesser-known fact about olive oil is that it is also effective in tackling the problem of hair lice. Few more benefits of olive oil for hair are:
- Olive oil prevents premature gray hair
- Darkens and highlights eyelashes
- Promotes hair growth
Other Uses of Olive Oil
- Removes Paint/Car Grease
- Lubricates Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Prevents mosquito breeding
- A sweet-smelling, clean-burning lamp oil
- Shoe polish
- Easy clean up of garden tools
- Conditions chopping boards
- Promotes healthy coat in cats
- Waterproofs work boots
- Removes stickers
- Removes chewing gum from skin/ non-porous surfaces
- Ease Stuck Zippers
- Polish silver and copper
- Shine stainless steel and brass
- Clean cast-iron skillet
- Conditions leather
- Fix Squeaky Doors