Most dietitians and health experts today recommend extra virgin olive oil as the healthiest oil for cooking, hair, and skincare.
It is also a proven fact that people who follow a Mediterranean diet are less prone to cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes compared to the other popular diets followed. The main oil for cooking used in a Mediterranean diet is none other than extra virgin olive oil.
The benefits of EVOO have been in discussion for decades. Most recent studies recognize the fat in olive oil (extra virgin quality) as the healthiest fat. This oil is also highly appreciated for its healthy fatty acids and antioxidants.
Cardiovascular diseases have become the single biggest health concern today for the vast majority of people all over the world.
Fortunately, it is medically proven that people who use the purest oil from olive are least affected by heart ailments.
What Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Olive oil is extracted from olive, a nut-like fruit of the olive trees.
Extra virgin olive is the purest form of olive oil made simply by crushing the olives and extracting the oily liquid. It is pure because this does not include any chemicals or industrial refining.
Most of the brands of oils we get to buy in stores are not original and pure. It is profitable for manufacturing companies to extract this oil with the help of chemicals, and some even dilute other cheaper oils into it to gain filthy money.
We often need the fullest benefits from this oil as most of us unknowingly buy adulterated oil.
Anytime you see an olive oil bottle with a certified label as “Extra Virgin,” the brand contains the purest form. It implies that a standard olive crushing method is followed to extract the oil, and it uses the finest quality of olive selected through certain tasting and smelling methods.
The characteristic traits of ‘extra virgin’ are rich aroma, distinctive taste, phenolic antioxidants, and natural fatty acids.
Of course, this purest oil is much more expensive than regular refined olive oils.
Nutrients In Extra Virgin Olive Oil
EVOO is nutritious and healthy.
A tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil taken each day can set you up for a host of health benefits, including vitamins E and K, including fatty acids.
The major portion of the fat contained in this oil is monounsaturated fat. It is highly resistant to heat and not damageable by heat up to 180 degrees Celsius. Even 20 hours of constant heating may not damage this oil.
Below given are the major components found (% figures adjusted slightly for calculation convenience) in 100 grams of this oil:
- Monounsaturated Fat: 73%
- Saturated Fat: 13%
- Polyunsaturated: 14%
- Omega-6: 9%.
- Omega-3: 0.76%
- Vitamin E: 72% of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)
- Vitamin K: 75% of the RDA
This oil has an extra bit of Omega 3 and Omega 6, but it is not an issue as the polyunsaturated fat content is low in this oil and, thus, no harm to health.
The oleic fatty acid in this oil can reduce inflammatory agents like C-Reactive Protein.
The presence of antioxidants in this oil is very good, and it will help the body fight several diseases. The antioxidants like oleocanthal & oleuropein prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidation.
Olive is the best cooking oil, the other being coconut oil.
11 Health Benefits Of Olive Oil
There are a large number of health benefits of this oil. One of the biggest benefits of using this oil is its ability to prevent inflammation, leading to several fatal diseases.
This article will briefly examine only the major health benefits of using this oil.
1. Alzheimer’s disease control
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative issue that is faced by a large number of people, especially in old age. The development of beta-amyloid plaques (a kind of protein tangles) in certain neurons in the brain causes this disease.
Some studies have proved the efficiency of this oil in removing amyloid plaques from the brain.
It is also noticed that people who followed the Mediterranean diet, which uses extra virgin olive for cooking, faced the least possibility of cognitive impairment and memory loss.
2. Prevents cancer
It is good to note that olive oil may be useful in preventing a few types of cancer.
The polyphenols compound in this oil is good antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The cancer risk is reduced as this compound protects the body cells from oxidative stress and inflammation that often lead to various types of cancer affecting the cells.
Several observational studies have shown that people from Mediterranean countries, who utilize olive oil for cooking, have the least incidents of cancers born out of oxidative stress and inflammation in the cells at the molecular level.
EVOO is highly resistant to heat, and thus, there is less possibility of free radicals being formed as oxidation does not happen.
The oleic fatty acid in this oil also works as an antioxidant and effectively suppresses certain genes that could develop into cancer.
The antioxidants in olive oil also protect the deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA). The healthy functioning of the cells will leave little room for cancer development.
In one of the studies conducted at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in extra virgin olive oil, it was found that breast cancer is very rare in a woman who utilizes olive oil in comparison to those who use vegetable oil.
There is a need for extensive human-controlled studies to scientifically explore the fullest potential of olive oil in preventing cancer.
It is well-known health advice in Mediterranean countries that two teaspoons of olive oil consumption daily is good for health.
3. Fights inflammation
It is a well-known fact to all of us that many diseases, like heart ailments, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, etc., are caused by inflammation.
Studies have revealed that olive oil contains a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent that inhibits the activity of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes that cause inflammation.
Oleocanthal, the anti-inflammatory agent in olive oil, works exactly like the ibuprofen tablet popularly used as an anti-inflammatory drug.
In short, low-level anti-inflammation that begins to spread can be suppressed or removed if the extra virgin olive oil is used in cooking.
Generous usage of extra virgin oil in cooking is a good way to ward off or get relief from diseases caused by inflammation.
4. Lowers LDL cholesterol levels
One of the vices of unhealthy food habits is LDL cholesterol, which eventually causes fatal heart diseases and improves cardiovascular health.
The oleocanthal and oleuropein compounds found in extra virgin olive oil do not allow the LDL cholesterols to get affected by oxidative damage. Unlike most other cooking oils, this oil does not deposit free radicals into the cholesterol.
On the other hand, the healthy fat in this oil increases the HDL Cholesterol level, which is essential for the smooth transmission of blood that supplies oxygen and nutrients to the body cells.
Monounsaturated fat, the dominant fat in it, is excellent for maintaining healthy cholesterol. This oil reduces risks of heart disease and stroke.
5. Reduces high blood pressure
As we have seen above, the consumption of olive oil tends to promote a healthy cholesterol level, which reduces high blood pressure.
The oleic acid in olive oil is very good for balancing a healthy blood pressure level.
Even in old age, a healthy heart can be preserved by having a few teaspoons of olive oils daily in your food. No wonder why the Mediterranean diet that includes green salads dressed with extra virgin olive oil is proven to be a very healthy diet.
6. Prevents diabetes
Extra virgin olive oil also is an excellent diet that helps in controlling diabetes to a great extent.
Some of the studies have pointed out a noticeable improvement in insulin senility with regular usage of this natural oil.
The monounsaturated fats from olive oil are good for maintaining healthy triglyceride levels. This blood lipid ensures the dual transference of blood glucose and fatty fat from the liver.
The Mediterranean diet has 50% lesser incidents of Type 2 diabetes issues than the rest. The main reason is the liberal usage of olive oil in this diet.
7. Good for skin
Since ancient times, olive extracts have been a perfect natural skin moisturizer and rejuvenator.
Most natural skin lotions and creams have regular olive oil as a major ingredient.
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in vitamins and nutrients that are extremely good for the skin; they include Vitamin E & A, fatty acids, and minerals. This oil helps the skin remove wrinkles, softening and smoothening, lightening, and moisturizing complexion.
It is a natural remedy for removing pregnancy stretch marks in a woman. It is easy to ward off dry skin issues and scale formation on the skin with the daily application of olive oil over affected areas.
Make sure to use only the extra virgin olive oil on the skin to avoid the side effects of chemicals found in regular refined olive oil.
8. Excellent for hair
If you have dry and dull hair, just start using extra virgin olive oil to make your hair moisturized and shining.
This oil forms a protective cover around the outer layers of the hair to make them look healthy and beautiful.
The Vitamin E and fatty acids in this oil penetrate deep into the hair roots and boost the growth of new hairs.
You will also find that most natural hair care solutions have olive as a very important ingredient.
9. Strengthens and protects the bones
A study published in 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism discovered that people who used olive oil for cooking had higher levels of osteocalcin (bone gamma-carboxy glutamic acid-containing protein) in their blood. The density and strength of the bone are highly dependent on the sufficient availability of osteocalcin in the blood.
This oil also helps maintain healthy calcium levels, which is needed for bone mineralization and calcification.
As you start to use extra virgin olive oil daily to cook your food, you will be protected from osteoporosis, low bone density, and brittle teeth.
10. Improves brain functioning
Olive oil can help the health of neurons that control and coordinate all body functions, memory, and reasoning capacity.
Many studies on extra virgin olive oil have shown that this oil helps prevent cognitive impairment and memory loss.
It is also found that visual memory and verbal fluency improve a lot with regular consumption of this natural cooking oil.
As we had discussed at the beginning of this article, the oleocanthal compound in this oil reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, which causes dementia and memory loss.
The healthy fat supplied by olive oil also reduces depression and stressful anxiety.
11. Helps with weight loss
The monounsaturated fat in olive oil is the healthy fat required for the body. It does not lead to excessive fat storage, especially belly fat.
A study conducted by the German Research Center for Food Chemistry in 2013 found that foods prepared in olive oil are more filling and quickly satiating. It cuts on overeating and suppresses appetite longer than other cooking oils.
The healthy fat in olive oil also suppresses cravings for sweets and high-calorie food.
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best cooking oils you can use to lose weight naturally.
How To Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
As we have already discussed, olive oil has several benefits and uses. It is useful for skin, hair, beauty care, health, weight loss, cooking, and weight loss.
In this section of this article, I want to dwell upon the 3 best uses of olive oil for enhancing personal beauty and appearance, including olive oil for hair, skin, and face.
1. Different uses of olive for hair
Extra virgin olive oil helps in conditioning, nourishing, and improving hair thickness.
This oil has the special ability to penetrate the hair strands and cortex for moisturizing the hair from within. Extra virgin olive oil contains nutrients and vitamins, such as Vitamin E, A, and antioxidants, which improve the hair’s health.
Here are a few tips on how to use olive oil for hair:
Dry hair treatment
Take 3 tbsp EVOO in a bowl and gradually apply this oil to your dry and unwashed hair. First, massage the oil on the scalp and then apply the oil to the entire length of the hair. Let the oil stay on the hair for 30 minutes and then wash and condition the hair as you normally do.
Hair conditioning treatment
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to 20ml of your favorite hair conditioner; blend them thoroughly. Use this oil and conditioner mixture for conditioning your hair.
Hot oil treatment
Take 3 tbsp EVOO oil in a stainless steel container and warm it up in the oven. Do not overheat the oil; the temperature should be as much as the skin and hair can tolerate. Apply the warm oil on the hair and scalp. It is good to massage the oil on the hair for 5 minutes. After 15 minutes, you can rinse the hair. It is best for dry and dandruff-infected hair.
A teaspoon of EVOO and mix it in a leave-in conditioner. Use this mixture for conditioning the hair. It gives a lasting moisture coating to dry hair.
2. Different skin treatments with olive oil
Olive oil is considered a tonic for the skin. This oil’s antioxidants, Vitamin E, and monounsaturated fatty acids benefit the skin.
If you are wondering how to use extra virgin olive oil for your skin, here are a few effective ways to use it:
Olive oil bath
Just fill your bathtub with warm water and mix 5 tablespoons of EVOO. Soak yourself in this water for 20 minutes. The Olive oil bath is excellent for making your skin moisture-supple, smooth and young-looking.
Olive oil body lotion for moisturizing
You need not depend on expensive body lotion to make your skin look beautiful. Immediately after you shower, apply a light layer of EVOO oil on your skin. EVOO penetrates deeply to regenerate cells and soften the tissue. This helps to retain the moisture and make this skin smooth and soft. Use the oil lavishly on elbows, knees, and feet, as these areas are drier than the rest of the skin.
Cuticle and nail softener
Rub the EVOO on cuticles, nails, and knuckles to prevent dryness and snags. If the nails on your toes and fingers have become hard and dry, keep them soaked in EVOO mixed with warm water for 10 minutes to make them soft and flexible.
You can use olive oil on the skin for a body scrub. Apply the EVOO all over your skin and then scrub the skin with sugar or coarse salt. You will find several body scrubs with olive oil
3. Different olive oil treatments for the face
There are several uses for olive oil on the face. Here are a few tips on how to use extra virgin olive on the face:
There are several uses for olive oil on the face. Here are a few tips on how to use extra virgin olive on the face:
Olive oil is great for cleansing the face and skin. The excess skin oil (sebum) and dirt that clogs the skin pores will dissolve in the olive oil you will apply to the face. Apply the EVOO on facial skin and massage the face with your fingers in a circular motion for 5 minutes. Then you can then wash off the oil from the face using warm water. This treatment may be good if you have oily skin.
Olive oil makeup remover
Olive oil is one of the easiest ways to get the makeup off your skin. Soak a cotton ball in olive and gently wipe away the makeup from your face and skin. If you have heavy makeup on the face or skin, you will have to massage the facial skin with olive oil and wash the face with deep pores cleansing lotion. You can also use Aloe Vera juice mixed with Olive oil for makeup removal, which gives extra hydration and a soothing effect on the skin.
Make an exfoliating facial scrub using 1 tablespoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon sea salt/sugar; apply the mixture on the face and rinse the face with warm water after 10 minutes.
Olive oil contains natural antibacterial properties that can effectively reduce the flare-ups on the skin caused by acne. The anti-inflammatory elements in olive oil reduce the swelling and pain that occur with the outburst of pimples.
Olive oil is an excellent lubricant for shaving both body and facial hair. Of course, it may create little stickiness and less glide, but the cleanup is perfect, and EVOO also makes your skin smooth after the share. Olive oil is also a good substitute for aftershave lotion.
Olive oil is undauntedly the king of cooking oils, which is far healthier than other cooking oils. The only other oil that comes close to this is coconut oil, which has many health benefits.
If you are prone to cardiovascular diseases, you should immediately switch to olive oil for better heart health.
Almost every health expert and dietitian agrees on the natural goodness and health safety of using this oil for cooking.
Lastly, the regular refined oil readily available in stores will give you only some of the health benefits we have discussed above.
Regular refined olive oil mostly uses chemical solvents for extraction and often comes mixed with cheaper oils like canola, soybean, palm, etc.
You need to read the oil bottle label carefully to ensure the oil you buy is marked as “extra virgin” and manufactured by trusted companies. Many fake oil brands are out there to deceive unsuspecting customers with low-quality olive oil.
Ensure you opt for the extra virgin olive oil to enjoy the fullest health benefits.