Olive oil is the essential fruit oil that is obtained from the fruit of olive trees. Due to the fact that there are plenty of olive oil benefits and the oil’s culinary usefulness, this oil has been in people’s homes for thousands of years.
On how this popular oil is made, well initially the olives are picked and washed and then they are crushed. They are either crushed between two big stones, or by steel blades. The paste that is created by the crushing is stirred in order to release the oil drops through a process that is called maceration. Afterwards, it is spun in a centrifuge in order to pull out the oil and the water. So, when that water is removed, we’re left with the oil.
There are three types of olive oil, including:
- Refined olive oil: Not all olive oil production ends at extracting the oil from the olives. Sometimes, the oil goes through a process called refining – this means using solvents and high heat in order to neutralize the tastes of the oil. So, when you see ‘Pure Olive Oil’ or simply ‘Olive Oil’ in a bottle at the store, know that you’re dealing with refined olive oil.
- Unrefined olive oil: When the oil is unrefined it means it didn’t go through the process of chemical refining. To produce unrefined olive oils the fruit needs to be in good condition since it will not be treated to chemically hide bad tastes.
- Extra virgin olive oil: When unrefined olive oil has nice flavors and has no taste ‘defects’ can be called ‘extra virgin’. Extra virgin oils have higher amounts of nutrients and greater health benefits.
Olive Oil Benefits
Some of the benefits of this oil are:
1. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
LDL is the bad type of cholesterol that increases the risk of heart attacks and pulmonary heart diseases. So, extra virgin oil proves to be helpful in reducing the oxidation effects of LDL cholesterol and helps increase the HDL cholesterol levels due to the fact that it contains almost 40 antioxidant chemicals. It also has 70% monounsaturated fatty acid which helps in lowering cholesterol accumulation in the blood, according to sources.
2. Improves Digestion
Research suggests that olive oil can help in the digestive process, meaning it is used in medicinal oil to help in cleaning the digestive tract and improve bowel movements.
3. May Help Prevent Strokes
Stroke is caused by a disruption of blood flow to your brain as a result of a blood clot or bleeding. According to studies, it was found that olive oil was the only source of monounsaturated fat that is linked to a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease.
4. May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Scientists from Barcelona in Spain have found a mechanism through which virgin olive oil protects the body against breast cancer in contrast to other vegetable oils, according to Medical News Today.
So, after they decoded signals in the cells of breast tumors that are activated by virgin olive oil, they realized that the oil reduces the activity of p21Ras, an oncogene. What this oncogene does is it prevents DNA damage, encourages tumor cell death, as well as it triggers changes in protein signaling pathways.
5. Helps Strengthen The Bones
According to sources, olive oil can contribute to the strengthening of bones too. In a study that was comprised of men who consumed a Mediterranean diet, it was concluded that olive oil might contribute to strong bones. Their blood contained higher levels of osteocalcin, this being an indication of healthy bone formation.
6. Works As Pain Relief
Extra virgin oil is known to relieve pain due to the presence of the compound called oleocanthal. This compound makes olive oil an anti-inflammatory agent.
7. Moisturizes Skin
Olive oil contains good amounts of vitamin E, the antioxidant that protects the skin from external factors such as harsh sunrays or the wind. Due to its light texture, it makes a perfect non-stick moisturizer that suits all skin types.
8. Contributes To Hair Health
When combined with other ingredients, olive oil can be quite beneficial in keeping your hair healthy, since the oil is rich in vitamin E, that helps in fighting hair loss. It could be combined with both honey and egg yolk. Honey contains nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, sulfur, calcium, and B vitamins that help in hair growth. Meanwhile, the egg yolk contains protein.
9. Supports Brain Health & Fights Depression
Olive oil is high in good fatty acids and the brain needs somewhat high levels of fatty acids in order to function properly. So, olive oil is beneficial in helping us perform tasks and think clearly, as research suggests.
In addition, healthy fats have the ability to help in balancing hormones, which along with anti-inflammatory properties prevent neurotransmitter dysfunction. As a result, this helps in regulating our moods and warding off depression.
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