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The Goodness of Olive Oil

Submitted by Sharon Hopkins on October 25, 2010

What are the benefits of olive oil?

Olive oil is one of the healthiest types of oil that you can use, especially when it comes to cooking. There are several health benefits that have been associated with olive oil, which is why it is usually recommended by several health experts from different fields. Olive oil contains a healthy type of fat, known as mono-saturated fat, which helps lower the risks of heart diseases, by reducing the bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body. Extra virgin olive oil, not only contains mono-saturated fats, but also a very high level of a powerful antioxidant, known as polyphenols, which is excellent for the good health of the heart. The advantages of olive oil range from improving heart health to better skin and hair.

Advantages of olive oil
• Compared to most other types of cooking oil, olive oil calories are much lower. Therefore, for people who are trying to lose weight, dieticians and fitness experts usually recommend eating foods that have been cooked in olive oil.
• Olive oil is very high in natural antioxidants, like Vitamin E.

These antioxidants can have a great effect on the body, by reducing blood pressure, coronary heart diseases and cholesterol.
• One of the advantages of olive oil is that it contains Vitamin K, which is excellent in the regulation of blood clotting.
• The acidity levels in olive oil are much lower than other cooking oils and therefore, olive oil is a lot easier to digest.

• There are numerous benefits of olive oil on skin. Olive oil has been successfully used in several commercial skin care products, as well as home remedies for healthy and glowing skin. The topical use of olive oil can help delay wrinkles, because it penetrates the skin thoroughly and has a softening and smoothening effect it.

It also helps the skin retain its natural moisture. Moreover, olive oil costs less and has fewer side effects, as compared to commercially manufactured cosmetic creams.
• Mixed with granules of sugar, olive oil can be applied to the face, throat, neck and shoulders, as a natural scrub, to exfoliate the dead skin. This helps the new skin to move to the top layer, which makes the skin look much healthier.
• Hair experts also usually recommend head massages with warm olive oil, to increase the volume of the hair and to improve hair texture.
• Pregnant women can reduce stretch marks on the skin, through the application of olive oil a few times a day. Since it is a natural ingredient, it can also help reduce the discomfort caused by a nappy rash, in babies, without any known side effects.

Even though there are numerous advantages of olive oil, you need to use it carefully while cooking. The excessive consumption of any type of oil, including olive oil, can have certain adverse effects on the heart. People suffering from heart problems or obesity should consult their doctors for a recommended daily dose of olive oil.

Goodness Of Olive Oil

Olive oil the main component of Mediterranean diet is derived by crushing and then pressing fresh olives. There are many types of olive oils available in the market through out the year. Depending on the processing the types of olive oil include - pure extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, pure and extra light olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is however considered the most health promoting as it is derived from first pressing of the olives thus has a natural delicate flavor with the goodness of more antioxidants.

Health benefits of olive oil -

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acid, a type of unsaturated fat that has health promoting properties. Olive oil is considered one of the healing fats as when it is replaced with other fats; especially saturated fats have much lower rates of heart disease, atherosclerosis, colon cancer, asthma and diabetes.

  1. Heart health – olive oil is very protective against heart disease. It prevents oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol) and thus prevents it from sticking to the arterial walls. It also helps to decrease the total cholesterol and doesn’t affect the high density lipoproteins (HDL cholesterol). Low cholesterol along with low oxidation of LDL helps to prevent atherosclerosis. The fatty acid that predominates in olive oil is oleic acid that is very resistant to free radical or oxidative damage. In addition to monounsaturated fat, olive oil is loaded with other powerful antioxidants that have free radical scavenging abilities like vitamin E, carotenoids, polyphenolic compounds tyrosol, hydrotyrosol, oleuropein-all and also chlorophyll. In fact it is believed that the abundant polyphenols in extra virgin oil are responsible for cardiovascular benefits rather than the monounsaturated fats alone. Olive oil also helps to maintain a healthy lining of the blood vessels and prevent high blood pressure.
  2. Colon cancer – including olive oil in the diet may have a protective effect against colon cancer when compared to other fats. The polyphenols in olive oil have anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant and antioxidant properties that are responsible for the protective effect against colon cancer, breast cancer and osteoporosis (preventing bone loss).
  3. A healthy meal including olive oil and low in fat have a good control over the blood sugar levels and helps to keep the triglyceride levels low in diabetic patients.
Although studies prove that olive oil when replaced with saturated fats helps to lose weight, it should be taken in recommended amounts. Remember that any fat provides almost double the calories compared to carbohydrates or proteins.

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