Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is – freshly pressed from the fruit.The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels. (1-3) No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid.

Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil’s protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Olive oil and heart disease.

Studies have shown that people who consumed 25 milliliters (mL) – about 2 tablespoons – of virgin olive oil daily for 1 week showed less oxidation of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of antioxidant compounds, particularly phenols, in the blood.(4)

But while all types of olive oil are sources of monounsaturated fat, EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil, from the first pressing of the olives, contains higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenols, because it is less processed.

Olive oil is clearly one of the good oils, one of the healing fats. Most people do quite well with it since it does not upset the critical omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and most of the fatty acids in olive oil are actually an omega-9 oil which is monounsaturated.

Olive oil and colon cancer

Spanish researchers suggest that including olive oil in your diet may also offer benefits in terms of colon cancer prevention). Their study results showed that rats fed diet supplemented with olive oil had a lower risk of colon cancer than those fed safflower oil-supplemented diets. In fact, the rats that received olive oil had colon cancer rates almost as low as those fed fish oil, which several studies have already linked to a reduction in colon cancer risk.

Types of olive oil

Generally, olive oil is extracted by pressing or crushing olives. Olive oil comes in different varieties, depending on the amount of processing involved. Varieties include:

  • Extra virgin – considered the best, least processed, comprising the oil from the first pressing of the olives.
  • Virgin – from the second pressing.
  • Pure – undergoes some processing, such as filtering and refining.
  • Extra light – undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavour.

When buying olive oil you will want to obtain a high quality EXTRA VIRGIN oil. The oil that comes from the first “pressing” of the olive, is extracted without using heat (a cold press) or chemicals, and has no “off” flavors is awarded “extra virgin” status. The less the olive oil is handled, the closer to its natural state, the better the oil. If the olive oil meets all the criteria, it can be designated as “extra virgin”.

What is pure and light olive oil?

“Pure” olive oil is made by adding a little extra virgin olive oil to refined olive oil. It is a lesser grade oil that is also labeled as just “olive oil” in the U.S.

“Light” olive oil is a marketing concept and not a classification of olive oil grades. It is completely unregulated by any certification organizations and therefore has no real precedent to what its content should be. Sometimes, the olive oil is cut with other vegetable oils.

Olives are fruit; olive oil is a fruit juice. Air, heat, and light will cause olive oil to turn rancid (rancid is the flavor which is imparted in an oil after it has undergone the process of oxidation. Since prolonged contact with oxygen is the rot cause of oxidation, rancidity is a common defect, so it should be stored in a cool place in an airtight container). If your oil has a buttery taste, then it’s probably rancid.

The ideal temperature for storing olive oil is 57°F or 14 degrees C, although a normal room temperature of 70ºF works very well if the olive oil is stored in a dark area where the temperature remains fairly constant. A kitchen cabinet located away from the stove and away from direct sunlight will work quite well. If you have a wine cellar, store your olive oils there and keep a small amount in your kitchen. Do not put olive oil in a container without a tight cap.

Refrigeration does not harm most grades of olive oil, but it is not recommended for expensive extra virgin varieties because condensation may develop in the bottle, affecting the flavor. When chilled, or in cold weather, the oil may turn cloudy and even solidify. Such oil will clear again as it warms, so cloudiness should not be taken as an indication that the oil is part its prime. Be sure bottles are tightly sealed. Refrigeration will extend the life of olive oil without harming the oil. Doing so will cause it to congeal and turn cloudy, but should not affect flavor. If refrigerated, olive oil will return to its original, liquid state when warmed to room temperature again.

Olive oil and Beauty:


Polyphenols are a broad class of antioxidants including flavonoids and catechins which are found in red wine, chocolate, tea and many other foods. Antioxidants help slow the ageing process. Olives are high in polyphenols. These substances are water soluble so are mostly found in the waste water after olive processing. The levels are so high that they represent one of the biggest problems in disposing of olive waste. The phenols have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial activities so can disturb normal wetland or treatment pond ecology. The oil retains a small amount of the polyphenols. The altitude of the olive grove and the ripeness of the fruit help determine the exact type of polyphenols. Some of these acids are destroyed during olive ripening while other ones increase. Overall there is no difference in the quantity of phenols between green semi-black and ripe olives. Oil made from green olives will give a lower yield but seems to have the most favorable type of polyphenols as the shelf life is considerably longer. Oil from green olives is frequently mixed with oil from mature olives to extend its shelf life. Some of the polyphenols such as hydroxytyrosol have been found in higher concentrations in good quality oils while tyrosol and some other phenolic acids are found in poor quality oils. The difference between virgin and extra virgin is the acid content and organoleptic properties such as taste, so undoubtedly extra virgin has different polyphenols than virgin but as before the total amount of polyphenols are probably the same.

Oilve oil will

  • Promote a smooth, radiant complexion.
  • Maintain elasticity of skin as it moisturizes.
  • Heal dry, brittle nails and soften cuticles.
  • Condition and add shine to hair.

Not Just for Skin

To receive the full benefit of olive oil, don’t limit it to external care. Take a cue from the Mediterranean culture eat it!

Incorporate this healthy oil regularly into your diet. You’ll enhance your health while improving the appearance of your skin.

So the next time you enjoy a healthy salad, drizzle on some olive oil. Later, rub it on your skin! You’ll double the antioxidant, anti-aging protection.

When purchasing, opt for Extra Virgin olive oil, preferably organic. This is the least processed and retains the highest nutrient value.

Try these mini beauty treatments.

Bath: For a moisturizing, aromatic soak, add about ¼ cup olive oil and several drops of essential oil to your bathwater. I like lavender oil for relaxation just before bedtime. (As with any bath oil, be careful as the tub may become slippery.)

Skin: Gently massage a small amount of olive oil anywhere your skin is dry: face, elbows, feet, or legs.

Hands: Whip up a quick sugar scrub for rough, dry hands. Combine two tablespoons of oil with two tablespoons of sugar. Rub on until sugar begins to dissolve. Rinse with warm water.

Feet: Apply a liberal amount of oil to feet at bedtime. Cover with cotton socks. Not sexy… but oh-so-soft feet in the morning! The magic works for hands, too. Cover with white cotton gloves.

Face: Create a moisturizing facial mask with olive oil, honey, and an egg yolk. Beat until well blended and apply to face… then relax! Leave on for 15 minutes; rinse with warm water.

Nails: Warm a small dish of olive oil (not too hot) with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Soak nails for 5- 10 minutes. This softens cuticles while it strengthens nails.

Hair: For a simple oil treatment, warm several tablespoons of olive oil (again, not hot). Rub into scalp and hair. Cover with a shower cap or plastic baggie. Leave on for 20-30 minutes.

For extra conditioning, mix an egg yolk with the olive oil… but do not warm. This is great for dry hair and split ends. It may even heal dandruff. Shampoo twice after this treatment or you’ll smell like raw egg!.

Lips: Alleviate chapped lips with straight olive oil. Dab on lips… especially helpful at bedtime.

Sources: Healing daily, Olive oil source

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