Olive oil is the oil produced from the fruit of the Olive tree. This oil is a major part of the Mediterranean diet and a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA).
What is Olive Oil?
Olive oil is acquired from the Olive tree. The fruit of the Olive tree, Olea europaea, possesses fleshy parts that produce Olive oil.
Olive oil can be seen in clear yellow to golden in colour. A greenish tinge can be noticed in some kinds which are obtained from unripe fruit.
Olives in every country are unique and produce oils of distinctive qualities and characteristics which differ based on the ripeness of the fruit and geographical location.
Olive Oil History
Olive oil has a long history in the Mediterranean region, where it has been a vital component of life for thousands of years. The olive tree was first cultivated some 6000 years ago.
The cultivation of the Olive plant is said to have commenced in Greece, which is implied by a stone tablet found in 2500 BC.
Olive oil is a blessing to both cooked and uncooked meals. A popular Roman cake, vatica, comprises only flour, salt, honey and Olive oil. Adding Olive oil to salad dressings highlighted the dish.
Ointments containing Olive oil were employed by Hippocrates to treat injuries with the belief that olive oil had natural healing properties.
Olive oil formed a part of a healthy diet, curated beauty regiment, cosmetic industry and was also used as a fuel for religious activities.
Olive Oil Nutrition
The component of the oil varies between the manufacturing unit and the variety.
The nutritional content of one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil,
- Energy – 126 Kilocalories
- Carbohydrates – 0 grams
- Protein – 0 grams
- Fat – 14 grams
- Saturated Fat – 2 grams
- Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) – 10 grams
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) – 1.5 grams
- Fibre – 0 grams
Types of Olive Oil
Olive oil is available in many different types and it is necessary to enlighten ourselves before we purchase one.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil is without a doubt the greatest of them all.
Cold-press method is used to extract Olive oil. They have low acidity, retain original aroma and flavour and possess vast health benefits.
Extra virgin olive oil can be consumed without adding anything extra.
Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin Olive oil is oil that has not been refined. It is processed the same way as the extra virgin olive oil and has an acidity level of 1 to 4%.
Virgin olive oil has the capacity to withstand high temperatures. Their milder taste makes it ideal for cooking on a low heat setting.
Pure Olive Oil
Pure Olive oil is far from being pure, despite the name claiming it. It is, in fact, a combination of Virgin Olive oil or Extra virgin olive oil and refined olive oil.
When the extraction quality isn’t as good as planned, the mixing procedure is frequently used. The quality can be improved when the refined oil is combined with a higher quality Olive oil.
Vitamin E content is enhanced when a good quality Olive oil is added.
Refined Olive Oil
Refined olive oil is made from ripe and black olives. Virgin Olive oil which is known for its potent anti-cancerous properties, is present in a minor amount in Refined Olive oil.
Any type of Refined Olive oil is considered to be of inferior quality and is only suitable for cooking in high temperatures. The fat and calorie content is similar to other varieties.
Pomace Olive Oil
The poorest quality of Olive oil is the pomace Olive oil. It’s made from the leftovers after the fruit has been pressed. Oil and water that remain as residue after the cold-press procedure are removed.
Their quality is enhanced with the addition of Virgin Olive oil. Pomace Olive oil is the cheapest on the market and is ideal only for high-heat cooking.
Benefits for Skin
Olive oil renders numerous benefits when applied to the skin. It is considered to be a ‘natural moisturiser’.
Olive oil benefits the skin by:
- Preventing premature ageing due to its antioxidant properties
- Maintaining elasticity of the skin
- Being a good cleanser to remove dirt
- Hydrating the skin
- Repairing the damage on the skin
Benefits for Hair
Olive oil is a famous oil around the world holding various benefits for skin, hair and health. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Olive oil enrich hair nourishment.
Benefits of Olive oil for hair:
- Dandruff prevention
- Hair loss prevention
- Maintains health of the scalp and hair
- Prevents damage to the hair
- Provides a healthy shine
- Makes hair look longer and fuller
- Calm down the inflammation on the scalp
- Cleanses and is an amazing ingredient in shampoos
- Improve blood circulation in the head
Their pros are endless. Who wouldn’t want to pamper themselves when a single ingredient does magic?
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
It is no wonder that this miracle ingredient offers great benefits to one’s health. The nil carbohydrate and protein content with only healthy fats make Olive oil a nutritious inclusion to a dish.
An important nutrient required for boosting immunity and preventing diseases present in Olive oil is vitamin E. Their abundance in Olive oil makes them work effectively in managing immune-inflammatory diseases, which include Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Decreased LDL cholesterol levels can be witnessed with regular Olive oil consumption.
Being rich in polyphenols, Olive oil aids in lowering blood pressure, benefiting hypertensive people.
All the components of Olive oil work together to protect the heart from a variety of ailments.
Supports Healthy Cholesterol Levels
We have already discussed about Olive oil possessing high monounsaturated fatty acids which increase the good cholesterol (LDL) level.
This healthy cholesterol can decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke.
It is said that the use of extra virgin and virgin Olive oil reduces the CRP level in the body. CRP levels indicate if the body has inflammation.
One to two tablespoons of Olive oil per day is the recommended quantity.
Antioxidants in Olive oil defend our bodies from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Our body is in turn healthy helping to ward off illnesses like cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Protects Brain Function
Nutrients required to boost brain function like vitamin E and K are high in Olive oil. These vitamins along with vitamin C are known to slow down memory loss and prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Vitamin K is a useful nutrient that is known to keep the brain sharp.
One of the most surprising advantages of olive oil is that it can help to prevent depression.
Most of the oils present in the current market are extracted with heat and chemical solvents and are high in trans fats.
A study with swapping vegetable oils for Olive oil revealed that the risk of depression fell by nearly half in the participants.
Management of Diabetes Mellitus
Research has shown that consuming a diet rich in Olive oil has a positive impact on persons with diabetes.
The levels of Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), blood glucose and triglycerides were reduced with the regular inclusion of Olive oil.
Several co-morbidities can occur as a result of diabetes, and Olive oil, with its cholesterol-lowering properties has been shown to reduce these diseases. They also help to reduce abdominal fat and insulin sensitivity.
By now, we know that Olive oil is a miracle ingredient that has several unique properties known to treat most lifestyle disorders. Same applies for cancer treatment.
The anti-cancerous properties in this oil are due to the presence of squalene, terpenoids and oleic acid.
Reduces Risk of Stroke
The presence of healthy fat and the quality of Olive oil to reduce cholesterol levels helps lower the risk of stroke.
Reduces Anxiety and Depression
Neuroprotective properties in Olive oil are the prime reason for the reduction of anxiety and depression in people who consume it.
Olive extracts have been shown to act as antihistamines by inhibiting histamine receptors, implying that they play a role in allergies.
Olive oil can help to prevent oxidative stress in the liver and can help to reduce fat deposits in the liver, preventing fatty liver.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that involves inflammation of the large intestine.
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), a key component of the Mediterranean diet, works by reducing chronic inflammation.
There is substantial evidence that Olive polyphenols improve metabolic syndrome risk factors by improving blood pressure and blood sugar regulation and lowering low-density lipoprotein oxidation.
The presence of a natural phenolic substance, oleocanthal, in extra virgin olive oil aid in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
It has been noticed that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is lower in Mediterranean countries, where Olive oil intake is higher than in other places.
Oleocanthal may help in the reduction of beta-amyloid buildup, which is thought to be the primary cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
Storage and Food Safety
The fats in the Olive oil are susceptible to rancidity which is identified by odd oil flavour or taste. Thus, the effective way to store Olive oil is by shielding them from light and heat.
Refrigeration may be necessary when the oil has to be stored for a longer term.
To maintain the oil in top quality, the following is practiced:
- Dark glass bottles can be used to store Olive oils. The harmful light rays that cause oil to go rancid are blocked by yellow and green glass.
- Olive oil should be kept in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight.
- Ideal temperature to store Olive oil would be between 60 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Undesirable flavours can be noticed when Olive oil is exposed to higher temperatures.
Side-Effects of Olive Oil
There is no known side effect when Olive oil is consumed in the right quantity. However, excessive consumption can cause some side effects like
- Acne, blackheads
- Acute allergic reactions in persons who are allergic to it
- Skin rashes,
- Dry skin
- Gall bladder stones
The risk of obesity, atherosclerosis, stroke, heart diseases and cancer is high when unprocessed Olive oil is used regularly.
Drastic reduction in blood sugar levels is seen due to high Olive oil intake which causes hypoglycemia resulting in sweating, weakness and other health concerns.
Overuse of olive oil can also result in a significant drop in blood pressure, which can lead to stroke, lightheadedness, dizziness and even kidney failure.
Olive oil cannot be regarded as one among the other oils, they are one of a kind. Containing numerous nutritional properties, their benefits touch various industries ranging from cosmetics to the food industry.
Regular consumption of Olive oil in the right quantity can help prevent and treat major lifestyle disorders including diabetes, hypertension and cancer.