13 Sep

There’s oil, then there’s “oil.”

By Jody Godfrey,

Olive oil (not Popeye’s girl) is the “oil” and it is worth its weight in gold! The general health benefits of this oil are many as it is a monounsaturated fat.

However, the fatty acid part of the story is just that … only a part. Cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has an abundance of antioxidants known as polyphenols. One study, in particular, showed that when healthy men incorporated polyphenols into their diets, characteristics of their blood morphed in many positive ways. Prior to ingesting polyphenols-rich oil, the men had consumed a diet low or devoid altogether of the antioxidants.

Olive fruit and its leaves have been used for centuries, and archaeological references to it as both a food and medicine have been found.

It contains Omega 6, some Omega 3, vitamins A and E, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamin K.

Diet staple
Olive oil is a primary component of the Mediterranean diet. (I’ve had the pleasure of knowing only one Italian and she is well into her 90s and going strong.)

As we all know, people of the Mediterranean countries seem to be able to eat a lot and have very rich diets, yet they don’t have the high risk of heart disease. Upon further investigation, it seemed that their diet is this: several daily servings of veggies and fruit, only a small serving of red meat per day, no soft drinks, three weekly meals with shellfish and legumes, few commercially prepared pastries or sweets, servings of fowl or rabbit instead of pork or other red meats and a good variety of nuts!

Many studies also point to the red wine component of the diet as a cardiovascular benefit; however, results weren’t sustained without the rest of the diet mentioned above factored in.

A healthy fat
A researcher from the University of Barcelona, M. Emelia Juan, along with her colleagues reports finding that triterpenes — waxy hydrocarbons that coat olive skins — can shut down the proliferation of human colon cancer cells. Her studies concluded that regular consumption of EVOO can diminish cancer risk.

On several grounds, EVOO represents a healthy fat. But since it is still considered to be a source of fat, it should be an oil substitute, and replace other oils used, not be added to them.

Also, EVOO is very well-tolerated by the stomach. Its protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. It activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more easily and safely than prescription drugs.

Their monounsaturated fats take the form of oleic acid, which reduces bad cholesterol and raises the good! Also, the phenolic compounds in olive oil have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting factors that can mean improved heart health.

Types of olive oil
Generally, olive oil is extracted by pressing or crushing olives. Olive oil comes in different varieties depending upon the processing used. Varieties include:

  • Extra virgin: Considered the best and least processed, compressing the oil from the first olive pressing.
  • Virgin: From the second pressing.
  • Pure: Undergoes some processing such as filtering and refining.
  • Extra light: Undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavor.

Non-food uses

  • Bath oil: Add 2 tablespoons to your favorite bottle (8 ounces) of shampoo and you’ll have a built-in conditioner and detangler!
  • Conditioner: Rub into hair and leave in with a towel or shower cap overnight for an intense conditioning treatment.
  • Soften rough feet: Rub olive oil generously onto your feet, then put on socks and leave overnight while you sleep.
  • Olive oil can also be used as a lip balm, applied after sunbathing, or used to brighten, clean and invigorate leather.

[Source] Click here