Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet and has been used for thousands of years for its various health benefits. It is made from the fruit of the olive tree and is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols, antioxidants, and other nutrients that have been shown to be beneficial for our health, skin, and hair. Let’s get to know these benefits in detail.
- 1 What are polyphenols?
- 2 What is extra virgin olive oil?
- 3 Health benefits of olive oil
- 4 Benefits of olive oil for skin and face
- 5 Benefits of olive oil for hair
- 6 How to use olive oil?
- 7 To sum up
- 8 Lose weight with fasting
What are polyphenols?
Polyphenols are a type of natural plant compound that are found in olives and other fruits, vegetables, and plant-based foods. In olive oil, polyphenols are responsible for many of its health benefits including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, neuroprotective, and antibacterial properties. They help protect the body against oxidative stress — damage from free radicals that harm DNA.
It’s worth noting that the amount and type of polyphenols in olive oil can vary depending on factors such as the type of olive, the region where it was grown, and the processing methods used to extract the oil. Generally, higher-quality extra-virgin olive oils tend to have higher levels of polyphenols.
What is extra virgin olive oil?
Extra virgin olive oil is made from the first cold pressing of the olives. It is the least processed version of olive oil and is therefore considered to be the highest quality olive oil available. It is rich in antioxidants and has a fruity, robust flavor that is perfect for use in salads and other dishes. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil has been shown to have more nutrients and even greater health benefits than regular olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil should be your first choice to gain all the health, skin, and hair benefits.
Health benefits of olive oil
Promotes heart health
One of the most well-known benefits of olive oil is its positive impact on heart health. The monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil have been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels, leading to a reduced risk of heart disease and strokes.
Olive oil works like a perfect anti-inflammatory drug, especially with its oleocanthal content, which is a kind of polyphenol. Its antioxidant properties with oleic acid can help reduce inflammation in the gut and overall body, leading to lowered risks of chronic diseases such as arthritis, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and even cancer.
Olive oil is also known for its digestive benefits. Reduced inflammation levels in the gut create a better environment for your gut microbiome and improve the absorption of nutrients from the foods you eat.
Protects brain health
A study suggests that oleocanthal-rich olive oil is effective at restoring a healthy blood-brain barrier. Plus, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in olive oil may help protect against cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Helps you lose weight
Fluctuations in blood sugar levels create cravings and make you want to eat more, especially junk food. A diet rich in olive oil helps to stabilize your blood sugar levels and therefore helps you curb cravings, prevents overeating, and helps manage your weight. A weight loss journey is unimaginable without meals and salads prepared with extra virgin olive oil.
Has anti-cancer properties
People who follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to die from cancer. Their secret may be having olive oil at the center of their nutrition. Oxidative stress is known to be an important factor in the growth of cancerous cells. The antioxidant properties of olive oil are effective at reducing free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Nutrient-rich olive oil lowers the risk of certain cancers such as colorectal, breast, pancreatic, prostate, and endometrial.
Benefits of olive oil for skin and face
Olive oil has been used for centuries as a natural skin moisturizer. Its high content of vitamin E and other antioxidants can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to premature aging. Applying olive oil topically can also help soothe and hydrate dry, itchy skin, and can even be used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Using olive oil on your face can be a great addition to your skincare routine. Its moisturizing properties can help keep your skin soft and supple, while its antioxidants can help fight off signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. Some people also find that using olive oil as a cleanser can help remove makeup and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
But bear in mind that if your skin is acne-prone, applying olive oil on your face may not be good for you as olive oil is mildly comedogenic and may lead to breakouts.
Benefits of olive oil for hair
Olive oil is a natural emollient and can be used to nourish and strengthen hair. Its high content of vitamin E and other antioxidants can help protect the hair from damage caused by free radicals and UV radiation. Additionally, the fatty acids in olive oil can help penetrate the hair shaft, providing much-needed moisture and preventing breakage. Some people also find that using olive oil as a hair mask can help reduce dandruff and promote healthy hair growth.
How to use olive oil?
Olive oil is a versatile and healthy oil that can be used for cooking in a variety of ways. The benefits of olive oil for cooking include:
- Its high smoke point makes it a great option for sautéing, roasting, and frying with its rich and fruity flavor.
- It adds depth and complexity to salads, dressings, and marinades.
- Using olive oil instead of other cooking oils such as vegetable or canola oil can provide all the above health benefits.
Olive oil and lemon juice
Apart from being a great dressing for any kind of salad, the combination of olive oil and lemon juice has been a popular natural remedy for a variety of health issues, too. Some people believe that drinking a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice in the morning can help detoxify the body, improve digestion, and boost energy levels.
Applying a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice to the skin can help brighten and even out skin tone while using it as a hair mask can help reduce oiliness and promote shine. But consult a dermatologist if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin before applying it.
Olive oil in coffee
Although not as popular as coconut oil or ghee, you can also add a teaspoon of olive oil to your coffee to prepare a bulletproof coffee. One cup of coffee with olive oil a day is fasting-friendly and boosts ketosis in both intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet.
To sum up
Olive oil is one of nature’s most wonderful gifts. Its high content of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make it a great way to boost and protect your health. Just make sure to have the right kind and eat at least 40 mL (1.35 US fl oz) of extra virgin olive oil per day according to your taste.
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