Olive oil has been used throughout history for cooking and food preparation. Aromatic and with a unique flavor all on its own, this versatile oil has found its way in most modern kitchens all over the world. It can be used for sautéing, stir frying, browning, deep frying, as an ingredient for marinades, pesto and mayonnaise, and as a condiment drizzled over salads, grilled vegetables and breads.
Yet the olive oil’s versatility extends beyond its culllinary use. Since ancient times olive oil has been used for its medicinal and cosmetic properties. Today, backed up by scientific evidence, these practices are still finding their way into our modern world.
So here are the top three health and beauty benefits we can reap from olive oil.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Olive oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil, is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. These compounds are found to have beneficial effects against oxidative stress and chronic and unwanted low-level inflammation, two conditions that if left uncheck can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems like atherosclerosis.
The fat in olive oil is made up of 75% oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that is known to lower total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the body. It is also known to improve the ratio of HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol; high levels of HDL reduces the risk for heart disease.
Promotes Bone Health
A high consumption of olive oil has been linked to increased calcification and mineralization of bones. Researchers from Madrid University also found that people who ate a diet rich in olive oil had higher levels of osteocalcin,a protein involved in the mineralization of bones. Another study from the University of Athens revealed that women who consumed a diet high in olive oil and low in red meat had healthier bone density throughout their adult life.
Taken as a whole, the above indicates that olive oil may have particular benefits for the promotion of bone health and a lowered risk for osteoporosis.
Protection Against Cancer
Olive oil is rich in polyphenols that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory molecules, which help combat oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress, damage caused by free radicals to cell structure and function, and excessive low-grade inflammation has been linked to many chronic illnesses, including cancer.
Studies suggest that as little as 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil per day can help protect us from some cancers, including cancer of the respiratory tract, breast and upper and lower digestive tracts.
Olive oil can be used as a natural hypoallergenic skin moisturizer. It also contains strong antioxidants like vitamins A and E that helps fight the dmage caused by the sun, smoke, air pollution and other modern day environmental hazerds.
When used on the skin as a moisturizer, olive oil will provide a long-lasting shield of moisture, helping to keep the skin smooth and supple. You can use olive oil eigher as a daily moisturizer or night cream. Apply olive oil onto damp skin to help lessen the greasy feel.
If you have dry and scaly skin, mix olive oil with sea salt and use this as a rub to slough off dead skin cells and nourish the skin underneath.
Hair and Scalp Care
Olive oil can be used as a natural conditioner for the hair. For deep conditioning, mix equal parts of olive oil and water and massage it onto your hair after shampooing. Leave it for five minutes, then shampoo and rinse. This will nourish your scalp and keep your hair strong and shiny.
Nail and Cuticle Care
Olive oil provides a natural way to keep dry nails and cuticles moisturized. Just rub a few drops around the cuticle and nail. This will help keep nails plump and moisturized and your nails shiny.