Olive oil is unbeatable healthiest edible oil. Its content of unique fatty acids with prevalence of monounsaturated fats makes it heart-friendly, as monounsaturated fats are known to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. In addition, the peculiar feature about this oil is that it can be consumed in its virgin form, offering the maximum health benefits.
Olive oil is the pure oil obtained from olive fruits. It is widely used in cooking, cosmetics, soaps, pharmaceuticals and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps. Although olive oil is used popularly worldwide, its highest consumption is found in the Mediterranean countries, particularly in Greece, Italy and Spain. There are different types of olive oil and each type has its own unique quality and flavor. Some of the common grades of olive oil are extra-virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, ordinary virgin olive oil, blend of virgin and refined olive oil, refined olive oil, olive-pomace oil and crude olive-pomace oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the most flavorful and highest quality olive oil. It is obtained directly from olive fruits by grinding them in thermal conditions. This process preserves the natural flavor of olive oil. Olive oil is assessed on the basis of three criteria such as fruitiness, bitterness and pepperriness. Each type of olive oil may vary in smell, color and flavor.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Olive oil is popular worldwide for offering a number of health benefits. Its intake is specially recommended by the cardiologists to prevent cardiovascular diseases. It can help to treat and prevent different health problems like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, skin problems, blood pressure, osteoporosis and obesity.
– Olive oil, due to its content of monounsaturated fats, helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and decreases the risk of heart diseases.
– A regular consumption of olive oil can reduce both systolic (maximum) and diastolic (minimum) blood pressure. It also minimizes the risk of stroke.
– A diet rich in olive oil, moderately rich in carbohydrates and soluble fiber from fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats is quite effective to manage diabetes.
– Olive oil, due its antioxidant properties, gives a protective effect against some types of malignant tumors like prostate, breast and digestive tract. Having a healthy diet with olive oil as a major source of fat can significantly reduce the risk of cancer.
– Recent studies have proved that a diet with high amount of olive oil reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
– Regular intake of olive oil improves bone calcification and mineralization. It enhances calcium absorption and thus contributes greatly in preventing the onset of osteoporosis.
– Since ancient times, olive oil has been used as the best tonic to moisturize and rejuvenate the damaged skin. Olive oil is rich in vitamin A, D, K and vitamin E, which is a major source of proteins required to fight free radicals responsible for aging. Olive oil helps to relive skin disorders like psoriasis, acne and seborrheic eczema. Due to its antioxidant properties, olive oil helps to prevent malignant melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
– Massaging with a mixture of olive oil and sea salt works as an exfoliator and helps to eliminate dead skin. Adding olive oil to bath water helps to moisturize the skin.
– Extra-virgin olive oil is an excellent solution to treat dry nails and cuticles. You may rub few drops of olive oil on the cuticle area and around the nails and get back moist cuticles and shining nails.
– Olive oil consists of a compound called oleocanthal, which is capable of controlling inflammation due to infection and injury.
– Olive oil, along with reducing blood cholesterol, plays an important role in weight loss.
There are thousands of health benefits of olive oil to learn. A few of them are mentioned above. Include olive oil as a major portion of fat in your diet and enjoy healthy and youthful life.
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