The nutritional benefits of olive oil are so far-reaching that they were dubbed liquid gold in ancient times. Suffice to say, olive oil is more than an ingredient used for cooking. The versatile nature of olive oil allows it to address everything from skin issues to health conditions. It contains heart-healthy fats, anti-inflammatory properties, and nutrients that prevent chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke etc. Before we get into the benefits of olive oil, let’s explore the different types of olive oil that is out there.
Types of Olive Oil
Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin olive oil is believed to be the most popular variety among other kinds of oil. It is noted for its low acidic content and for its affordability.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is essentially made by cold pressing olive fruit, this oil is said to be the best for the body. The most obvious drawback is that it is relatively more expensive than other types of olive oil.
Pure Olive Oil
Pure olive oil, on the other hand, is the combination of refines and virgin olive oils. It contains a high acidic content and this is one of the main reasons why it is unsuitable for normal use.
Benefits of Olive Oil
For the Skin
Olive oil contains a decent amount of vitamin E, an antioxidant which works to protect the skin from infections and other external factors such as a harsh environment. Moreover, antioxidants are responsible for keeping free radicals in check and preventing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an accumulation of free radicals in the body. Chronic conditions and even premature ageing has been associated with oxidative stress. Additionally, the light texture of the olive oil makes it a non-sticky moisturizer that retains moisture and suits most skin types. What’s more, there is a wide range of vitamins such as vitamin A, D, K found in olive oil as well. If you are suffering from acne, olive oil can go a long way to decrease and keep acne at bay. The versatility of olive oil cannot be overstated, it can be used in a number of ways to keep your skin healthy, including as a make-up remover.
Keeps Hair Healthy
Combining olive oil with a number of other oils such as castor oil and tea tree oil will do wonders to keep your scalp and hair healthy. Being rich in vitamin E, olive oil not only helps to combat hair loss but also keeps hair moisturised. Mixing some olive oil with some honey and egg yolk will moisturise your hair. Honey is filled with zinc, magnesium, calcium, sulfur and B vitamins that can significantly contribute to hair growth. At the same time, egg yolk is rich in proteins that are extremely beneficial for the hair as well.
Contains Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Extra-virgin olive oil has the ability to lower inflammation in the body. This is extremely important as health conditions such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis has been linked to chronic inflammation. Studies have shown that oleocanthal and oleic acid could be two key properties in olive oil that negate the effects of inflammation. Research has shown that oleic acid, the main fatty acid present in olive oil can lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which are inflammatory markers.
May Prevent Strokes and Heart Disease
According to studies, olive oil has been noted to be the only source of monounsaturated fat that is directly linked with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Research has also found that people who consumed olive oil faced a lower risk of stroke compared to people who did not. Additionally, olive oil has been found to decrease the chances of heart disease as well. It reduced inflammation and prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins or LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood. Apart from that olive oil improves the lining of the blood vessels and impedes excessive blood clotting. Olive oil has also been found to lower blood pressure, which is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease and premature death. In fact, studies have shown that including olive oil in the diet reduced the need for blood pressure medication by at least 48%. If you have a genetic disposition to heart disease or any other major risk factor, increasing your olive oil intake along with a well-balanced diet may potentially lower your chances of developing cardiovascular disease.
Yes, olive oil has numerous benefits for the skin, hair and the overall health of the body, however, studies have suggested that people with sensitive, oily or a pre-existing skin condition such as dermatitis may experience an adverse reaction. It’s important to consult your doctor before you turn to natural remedies to address certain skin issues. Another important thing to take note of is the brands of olive oil that you are using. Take some time to read the label and ensure that you are buying pure olive oil as opposed to something with a blend of oils.