Olive oil has immense benefits for mankind, and you should use it without thinking about whether you are healthy, patient, or elderly because its benefits are mentioned in the holy books.
Before going to the benefits of olive oil, I want to define “olive oil.”
Olive oil is considered the queen of oils because of its great health benefits, taste, and smell.
Olive oil is obtained from an olive tree in the form of a fat liquid, which was a traditional crop of the Mediterranean Basin and was produced by pressing the whole olive and then extracting it.
What is meant by Mediterranean Basin?
The Mediterranean Basin is also called the Mediterranean Region, and it is the region around the Mediterranean Sea that has a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and mild, wet, and rainy winters that support Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation.
The countries that surround the Mediterranean in a clockwise direction are Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco (Malta and Cyprus are island countries in the sea). Also, the Gaza Strip and the British Overseas Territories of Gibraltar, Akrotiri, and Dhekelia have coastlines on the sea.
Can you tell us the types of olive oil?
There are five types of olive oil, which are as follows:
1) Extra virgin olive oil:
These are the oils that are freshly extracted and unrefined from olive trees and processed (probably within 24 hours). It has the highest quality and is the most expensive. Extra virgin olive oil has less than 1% acidity and has the highest nutrient value, being rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
What is meant by unrefined?
Unrefined means that during extraction, no chemicals or heat are used.
Can we use it for cooking?
No, extra virgin olive oil is not for cooking because heat can cause it to lose its nutritional value, and at very low temperatures, it can burn.
Then for what purpose can we use it?
It is used for topping and salad dressing, and you can drizzle a teaspoon or desired amount on the food you have cooked because it has an amazing taste and aroma, which will make food more attractive.
What color is their identification?
The color varies from deep grassy green to bright yellow gold.
2) Virgin olive oil:
Virgin olive oil is second to extra virgin olive oil because of the presence of oleic acid, which makes virgin olive oil a little more acidic than extra virgin olive oil (about 2% acidic). It is also unrefined oil.
Can we use it for cooking?
It can be used for cooking vegetables; however, it is not recommended for deep-frying food.
For what purposes can we use it?
It is best for sautéing (frying quickly in a little hot fat) vegetables, baby massage, and hair and skin massage.
3) Refined olive oil:
Refined olive oil is prepared by refining virgin olive oil. Refining eliminates their nutritional value and makes them very cheap. It is much inferior to other types of olive oil because, during refining, its characteristic taste and smell are lost. It is tasteless, odorless, and colorless.
For what purpose can we use it?
Refined olive oil is suitable for cooking only, not for salads or toppings.
4) Pure olive oil:
It is a combination of virgin olive oil and refined olive oil and has low nutritional value because refining decreases its natural value.
For what purpose can we use it?
It is recommended to use it for cooking only.
5) Pomace olive oil:
Pomace olive oil is the residue and remains of olive oil when all olives (extra virgin and virgin olive oil) are extracted from the pulp.
When olive oil is extracted, there is still some residue of olive oil, which is called pomace olive oil.
As it has no nutritional value, it is used for cooking and blended with other types of olive oil for beneficial purposes.
Now, coming to the benefits of olive oil,
That’s good, and that’s our main topic too.
Benefits of olive oil:
Following are the 21 benefits of olive oil.
1. Cardiovascular Benefits:
First, we will start with cardiovascular (heart) benefits. To explain this, we have to explain all about fats.
Olive oil is a monounsaturated fatty acid that makes up about 55 to 85% of olive oil.
What is meant by monounsaturated fatty acid?
It is a good question, but to explain it, I have to start with fat.
Fats are organic molecules that are made up of triglycerides.
What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are an ester of glycerol and three fatty acids.
Glycerol is a simple polyol (containing multiple hydroxyl groups) molecule.
Fatty acids are a long chain of hydrocarbons.
Glycerol and three fatty acids combine to form triglycerides.
Glycerol serves as the head, and fatty acids serve as the tail of triglycerides.
Now come the types of triglycerides or fats.
Types of fats:
Fats are of two types.
I) Saturated fats or fatty acids
II) Unsaturated fats or fatty acids
I) Saturated Fatty Acid
Saturated fatty acids are those whose carbon-to-hydrogen bonds are single and there is no double bond, i.e., there is no bonding capacity.
These are solid at room temperature.
Is it good for health?
It is considered that saturated fats increase the level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or bad cholesterol, and decrease HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or good cholesterol (will be discussed in unsaturated fatty acids). Further explanation will clarify the goodness and badness of saturated fatty acids.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is found in all cells of the body.
What is the function of cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an important part of the cell membrane, necessary for hormone production, vitamin D, and bile synthesis (helping in fat digestion), and is in the form of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL).
Now, what is meant by LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol?
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL):
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is also called “bad cholesterol,” and it is the cholesterol with the protein group, i.e., it is bonded to the protein group.
Why is it called “bad cholesterol”?
Because the high amount of LDL leads to plaque formation in the arteries, reducing the blood flow, which can lead to a heart attack (coronary artery blockage) or stroke in the brain due to blockage of the common carotid artery in the neck carrying blood to the brain.
What are the main sources of LDL?
Red meat, poultry, milk, butter, pork, etc.
II) Unsaturated Fatty Acid
Unsaturated fatty acids have a double bond in their carbon chain, and there is a capacity for bonding in their chain.
These are liquids at room temperature.
Can you explain their types?
Following are the types of unsaturated fats, or fatty acids.
a) Monounsaturated fatty acid
Mono means one,” and unsaturated means a double bond.
So monounsaturated fatty acids are those fatty acids that have one double bond in their hydrocarbon chain.
b) Polyunsaturated fatty acid
Poly means “many.”
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are those that have many double bonds in their chains.
Is it good for health?
Unsaturated fatty acids are very good for health because they produce High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is best for the cardiovascular system.
What is HDL cholesterol?
High-density lipoprotein, or HDL:
High-density lipoproteins are also called “good cholesterol” because they are beneficial for health.
Why is it called GOOD cholesterol, and how does it benefit health?
It is called good CHOLESTEROL because it carries and collects cholesterol from other parts of the body and carries it to the liver. The liver then removes it from the body, that’s why it is called good cholesterol because it protects the arteries from being narrow, and if someone has narrowed arteries due to taking a high amount of LDL, then it is recommended to take HDL to make their arteries normal.
I think it is clear now.
Let me tell you in simple words: which is best?
Saturated fats produce bad cholesterol, which leads to cardiovascular disease (blockage of the arteries), while unsaturated fatty acids produce good cholesterol, which is best for the cardiovascular system.
But here we are talking about olive oil.
That’s why I did the whole discussion. As discussed, olive oil is 55–85% monounsaturated fat, which is good for health.
2. Strong antioxidants:
Olive oil contains a large number of antioxidants.
What is meant by antioxidant?
Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation.
What is oxidation, and why is it to be inhibited?
Oxidation is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals (unstable atoms that gain and lose electrons and damage the cell), which leads to a chain reaction that may damage the cells. Free radicals are the main cause of aging and illness.
3. Remedy for stomach ulcers:
Extra virgin olive oil kills all strains of bacteria associated with stomach ulcers and stomach cancer, including those strains that are antibiotic-resistant.
Taking a teaspoon directly in the morning before eating is good for stomach ulcers. A new Spanish search says that extra virgin or virgin olive oil may help to treat and prevent H. pylori infections, which are the main reason for millions of cases of peptic ulcers and gastritis each year.
The antioxidant compound in virgin olive oil is effective against the strains of H. pylori bacteria that infect the lining of the stomach.
4. Prevention of stroke:
Stroke is the lack of oxygen to the brain due to blockage of an artery in the brain either by clotting or by bleeding (due to trauma), which causes unconsciousness and may lead to death.
As we already discussed, olive oil is monounsaturated, which means it produces good cholesterol (HDL), so it removes the plaque in arteries and makes them open for a good supply of blood.
The carotid artery carries blood to the brain, which, if blocked, can lead to stroke, so olive oil prevents it from being blocked.
5. Anti-inflammatory properties:
Olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties like ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a drug used for anti-inflammation; similarly, olive oil also has anti-inflammatory properties besides the other properties we discussed earlier.
Some research also shows that extra virgin olive oil decreases the level of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is an inflammatory marker.
In other research, olive oil reduces the inflammation of joints in arthritis patients.
6. Help in weight loss:
Olive oil collects bad cholesterol or fats from the body and moves them to the liver, where they are then removed from the body, thus helping in weight loss.
A 30 months of research on Spanish college students who consume a lot of olive oil shows no weight gain, so it is not linked to weight gain.
7. Kill cancer cells:
Extra virgin olive oil is very effective against cancer cells (particularly breast cancer). A compound found in olive oil called “oleocanthal” punctures the lysosome of cancer cells, which then engulfs the cancer cells within 16 to 24 hours.
In another experiment, olive oil was injected into mice engineered to develop pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, reducing the burden of the tumor and extending their life span to four weeks.
8. Combat Alzheimer’s disease:
Extra virgin olive oil contains a high amount of micronutrients called polyphenols, which are very effective against neuron degeneration, aging, and age-related diseases.
New research shows that consumption of olive oil improves memory and learning ability and reduces amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, which are the main markers of Alzheimer’s disease.
9. Beneficial for diabetes:
Olive oil is helpful for diabetes patients because it maintains their blood glucose levels normally.
The brain releases a hormone called serotonin, which makes the person happy and is called the happiness hormone. Olive oil also increases the level of serotonin and serves as an antidepressant. The majority of drugs work by stimulating serotonin during depression.
Benefits of Olive Oil for Hair:
It has the following benefits for hair:
11. Straighten the hairs:
Olive oil has been used for thousands of years for hair care. It is used for hair straightening. It has many nutrients that straighten the hair and it is used with a combination of eggs, aloe vera, banana, etc. for better results.
12. Make the hair smooth, soft, and shiny:
Olive oil contains emollients (oleic acid, palmitic acid, and squalene), which have softening qualities. These components in olive oil enter the hair shaft and make it smooth, soft, and shiny. Many branded shampoos, conditioners, and pomades contain a lab version of emollients.
13. Reduce dandruff:
Dandruff has many causes, but the main cause is a fungus. There is no such effective cure for dandruff, but olive oil reduces the flakes of dandruff.
Massage hair with olive oil and comb after some time for dandruff flakes removal. Leaving olive oil and covering it with a shower cap gives it extra conditioning.
14. Promotes hair growth:
Olive oil is rich in vitamin E, which makes the hair strong and stops the hair from falling. Massaging regularly can also fix the split ends.
15. Used for the keratin treatment:
Olive oil with papaya or banana, yogurt, honey, and aloe vera is used for keratin treatment, which can be prepared at home easily by just buying these easily available products.
16. Moisturize the dry scalp:
Olive oil moisturizes the dry scalp and improves hair health and split ends.
Benefits Of Olive Oil for skin
Like its benefits for hair, olive oil also has many benefits for the skin, which are as follows:
17. Moisturizes the skin:
Olive oil prevents the loss of water, keeping the skin moist.
Olive oil contains vitamin E, which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants have regenerative properties, so vitamin E regenerates new cells in the skin and increases their elasticity. Vitamin E improves skin health by reducing and treating inflammation, acne, and dryness.
Antioxidants give healing support for burns and scars.
18. Antiaging properties and reducing wrinkles:
Again, the antioxidants in olive oil reduce free radicals, which are the main cause of aging, thus acting as anti-aging. The fast regrowth of cells in the skin removes the wrinkles on the face.
Massaging the skin with olive oil three times a week gives instant results.
19. Treats cracked heels:
Massaging the heels with olive oil heals the cracked heels.
20. Fight the bacteria:
Olive oil fights the bacteria that cause acne and are harmful to the skin. You can directly apply olive oil to the skin, or you can also use olive oil soap.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria cause cysts on the skin, against which olive oil is effective.
21. Reduce eye dark circles:
Olive oil reduces dark circles around the eyes and thickens the eyelashes.
Can you tell us which country is famous for pure olive oil production?
The top producer and exporter of olive oil is Spain, which is followed by Italy. 50% of the world’s olive oil production comes from Spain, so don’t hesitate to see the name of Spain on olive oil bottles if they are not fake.
Olive is the fruit of the olive tree from which the oil is extracted.
The “21 benefits of olive oil” start with hair and end with cracked heel healing. Not only are the benefits limited to the external body, but they also have immense benefits for the internal body, which is explained in this article.
It has five types, but you should buy extra virgin olive oil for topping, salad dressing, massage, etc. because it is rich in nutrients as it is extracted without refining, and refining includes chemical use and bleaching of oil, which reduces the nutrient quality of the oil.
While the other type for cooking is refined olive oil because refining reduces its nutrient value, it can only be used for cooking. Still, it is much better than normal ghee use.
Why is it focused on and forced to use olive oil?
Though the benefits of olive oil are immense, the one and only best benefit that I am describing here is that it produces high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, which collects cholesterol from the body and gives it to the liver, which is then removed, thus removing plaque from the arteries and protecting the person from cardiovascular diseases like a heart attack.
Lastly, I want to rememorize that while buying olive oil, you should buy extra virgin olive oil or virgin olive oil, which is rich in nutrients.
Comment on your experience with olive oil and how it has benefited you.