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, whether for frying or as a salad dressing. It is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps, and has additional uses in some religions. There is limited evidence of its possible health benefits. The olive is one of three core food plants in Mediterranean cuisine; the other two are wheat and grapes.
Nutritional Value of Olive Oil
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||609 kJ (146 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||3.3 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Uses / Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Here’s why you should prefer olive oil over all the chemical-laden skin creams on the market.
- Anticancer Activity – Treatment of human colon adenocarcinoma cells with olive oil polyphenols significantly inhibited cell proliferation [4, 5, 6]. In spite of the relatively low concentrations of hydroxytyrosol in olive oil, polyphenols are in the high micromolar concentration range in the colon after gastric hydrolysis and colonic fermentation of secoiridoids that are naturally present in olive oil . In colon cancer cells HT reduces epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) level by promoting its degradation. EGRF is one of the key receptors triggering colon carcinogenesis as it regulates the proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and invasion of cancer cells [8,9]. Moreover, HT was found to be an effective cytotoxic agent in breast cancer cell models. It inhibited the cell cycle in the G0/G1 phase by decreasing the level of cyclin D1 [10,11].
- Moisturizes Skin – This oil contains a good amount of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects the skin from various external factors like the harsh sunrays or the wind (12), (13). The light texture of olive oil makes it a perfect non-sticky moisturizer that stays for long and suits all skin types (3).
- Improves Skin Health – When it comes to beauty, most of us swear by natural ingredients. All we want is a glowing skin. No matter how many creams are there on your shelf, for a quick fix, we always reach out for a fruit pulp or a vegetable juice extract.O live oil contains vitamin E, which improves skin health by treating inflammation, acne, and protecting the skin from serious ailments like psoriasis and skin cancer (14). Honey acts as a humectant while yogurt does the job of a gentle exfoliant, thereby enhancing skin health (15).
- Helps Remove Makeup – Virgin olive oil is an easy and comparatively cheap alternative to market brands. Besides, where can you find a product that does the job without harming your skin? I always recommend natural remedies as I have sensitive skin that suffers blisters or rashes if there’s the slightest variation in the products.
- Cardiovascular Health – The Mediterranean diet, in which olive oil is the primary source of fat, is associated with a low mortality for cardiovascular disease. Data concerning olive oil consumption and primary end points for cardiovascular disease are scarce. However, a large body of knowledge exists providing evidence of the benefits of olive oil consumption on secondary end points for the disease. Besides the classical benefits on the lipid profile provided by olive oil consumption compared with that of saturated fat, a broad spectrum of benefits on cardiovascular risk factors is now emerging associated with olive oil consumption. We review the state of the art concerning the knowledge of the most important biological and clinical effects related to olive oil and its minor component
- Has Anti-Aging Properties – As you age, your skin starts to sag and develop wrinkles. You can delay these signs of aging with olive oil.
- As A Lip Scrub – We live in a world of Instagram and Facebook, where we proudly post our selfies, showing off our pout. And if it has to be a pretty picture, you might as well take care of your lips.
- Heals Cracked Heels – If your cracked heels are stopping you from putting your best foot forward (pun intended!), try olive oil. Exfoliate your heels using hot lemon water and rub olive oil on them generously for added moisture and smoothness. You can wear socks for quick relief.
- Keeps Hair Healthy – Olive oil, in combination with a few other ingredients, can work wonders to keep your hair healthy. The oil is rich in vitamin Ethat helps fight hair loss (18). Honey moisturizes your hair. It also contains other nutrients like magnesium, zinc, sulfur, calcium, and B vitamins that aid hair growth (19). The egg yolk is rich in protein, a nutrient that is the primary constituent of hair (20).
- Can Be Used As A Pre-shampoo Treatment – I remember, as a kid, my mom gave me an oil massage before a shampoo so my hair good imbibe the goodness of the oil. Though I hated being all oily at that time, eventually, I understood how important this process was for my hair. An olive oil massage before a shampoo helps in giving a distinct shine and strength to your hair.
- Improves Nail Health – Nails can say a lot about your health. If you look pale, doctors often check your nails. Dull, lifeless, brittle nails are a few problems we encounter. But did you know olive oil can actually improve nail health? If you are planning to flaunt that trendy nail art for your best friend’s wedding, you need to first start caring for your nails so they look healthy. The vitamin E in olive oil can improve the appearance of nails affected by an ailment(22).
- Helps Prevent Breast Cancer – Olive oil and cancer — the correlation can be coined as absurd. But using olive oil in cooking can help prevent breast cancer. In a Saudi Arabian study, it was found that oleuropein, a natural compound found in olive leaf, has potential anti-breast cancer properties (23).In another clinical trial conducted in Spain, it was found that women who consumed a diet containing olive oil were 62 percent less likely to contract breast cancer (24).
- Helps Prevent Diabetes – Including olive oil in your diet can also keep your blood sugar under control. Trust the many studies that prove this little fact. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a diet rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats, like the one that contains olive oil, can help prevent diabetes (25). In another study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consumption of olive oil was linked to a reduced risk of diabetes in women (26).
- Prevents Alzheimer’s – According to the Scientific American, oleocanthal in olive oil can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease (27). The American Chemical Society has also come up with similar findings(28). In an American study, extra virgin olive oil was found to improve learning and memory in mice, supporting the possibility of its replication in humans suffering from Alzheimer’s (29).
- Strengthens Bones – If you thought calcium alone made your bones strong. Here’s news — olive oil too can strengthen the bones. In a study that involved men consuming a Mediterranean diet, it was found that olive oil might contribute to strong bones. Their blood was found to contain higher levels of osteocalcin, which was an indication of healthy bone formation (30), (31).
- Treats Depression – We all have our share of mood swings. Our state of mind depends on a lot of things. Thankfully, there are a few foods that act as antidepressants. And you can count olive oil among them. One of the amazing benefits of olive oil is to treat depression. Olive oil can increase the levels of serotonin, the brain chemical. This, it has been found, is similar to the effect of some antidepressants (32).
- Aids Weight Loss – Losing weight was never this easy. What if you could lose weight while snacking on your favorite food? No kidding here! Have your favorite Italian pasta or a salad drizzled with olive oil and watch yourself go from flab to fab. A study published in the Harvard School of Public Health had supported the efficacy of olive oil in aiding weight loss. The weight loss that occurred due to two different types of diets (a moderate-fat Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil, and a low-fat diet) were compared. By the end of the study, only 20 percent of the volunteers in the low-fat group were still following the diet.
- Controls Cholesterol – You can lower the levels of bad cholesterol in your body by using of olive oil. Olive oil contains minimum levels of saturated and polyunsaturated fats. This property gives it the ability to control blood cholesterol levels in the body. Olive oil contains the highest level of monounsaturated fat – around 75-80%, which helps build good cholesterol and HDL in the body. Research conducted at the University of Minnesota has shown that while Greek, Cretan, and other Mediterranean population ate almost as much dietary fat as Americans, they had significantly lower rates of heart disease. The difference is being pointed to the Mediterranean’s consumption of extra virgin olive oil. Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain found in a study that an extra virgin olive oil rich diet lowered the levels of LDL cholesterol in the body. It is also linked to an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol in the human body.
- Prevents Strokes – You may not know this but the daily consumption of extra virgin oil can help prevent strokes in the elderly (34). A study has shown that older people who adopted olive oil in their diet were 41% less susceptible to the risk of strokes. We all know that strokes occur due to a blood clot in the blood vessels connecting to the brain, which can even lead to brain damage and, eventually, death. Olive oil helps in diluting these clots, ensuring proper blood flow to the brain.
- Perks Up Sex Life – Ever wondered why all the great love stories originated from Italy – the land of olive oil? It’s no surprise that olive oil is an excellent aphrodisiac (35). A proper massage with olive oil enhances blood circulation to all parts of the body, including the sex organs.
- Acts As A Pain Relief – Be it external or internal injury, extra virgin olive oil is known to relieve pain. The presence of a compound called oleocanthal in olive oil makes it an anti-inflammatory agent that can cure any type of disease, be it topical or chronic (36).
Relieves Constipation – Olive oil benefits the gastrointestinal tract and colon (37). The consistency and texture of olive oil help in stimulating your digestive system, making food move smoothly through the colon. When you take this oil on a regular basis, it helps in completely preventing constipation. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats (38). This helps in increasing mobility so that food can move through the colon without any problem. It also helps in speeding up bowel evacuation and prevents constipation. This oil is rich in vitamins E and K, iron, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and antioxidants. These nutrients improve your overall health, including the digestive tract, and help prevent constipation as well.
- Raw Olive Oil – Have one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil twice a day. Take the first tablespoon in the morning on an empty stomach and the second one an hour before you go to bed. If you forget to take it while your stomach is empty, wait a few hours after you have eaten. Repeat this every day until constipation is relieved.
- Olive Oil With Fruit – If you do not like the taste of raw olive oil, you can combine it with a fibrous fruit like apple or orange. First, take a tablespoon of the oil in the morning and then eat the fruit. If it does not help, take another tablespoon in the evening with veggies such as broccoli that are rich in fiber. Do this on a regular basis until you obtain relief.
- Olive Oil With Orange Juice – Add one teaspoon of olive oil to a glass of orange juice and drink it every morning on an empty stomach. It will help in lubricating your system all day long and keeps you healthy. You can also try olive oil with a cup of coffee.
- Olive Oil With Lemon Juice – Mixing a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice is also an effective way to treat constipation naturally. Drink this mixture once every day. You can also take one teaspoon of olive oil with a wedge of lemon in the evening to lubricate your system and to keep your colon from drying while you sleep.
- Olive Oil With Milk – This is a great remedy for severe constipation. All you need to do is add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a cup of warm milk. Mix it well and make sure your stomach is empty when you drink it. Do this regularly to get rid of constipation.