Olives have a very rich history. A native of the Mediterranean, the evergreen olive tree grows to a height of 15 meters, with silvery green leaves. Benefits of olive tree are varied and include oil, fine wood, olive fruit and leaf. These have all been studied and established to have health benefits. Of wood, fruit, leaves and oil, olive oil is widely traded in, exported from producing countries to different parts of the world.
Types of Olive Oil
Olive oil is obtained by grinding olive fruit through mechanical or chemical means. While olive green fruit produce green and bitter oil, ripe fruits produce green-yellowish oil in color. Whichever the case, the resultant oil is filtered to remove any impurities and avoid cloudy olive oil. Olive oil is graded into various classes:
- Virgin olive oil – Virgin olive oil is that which is obtained by physical or mechanical means. No chemical extraction is involved.
- Refined olive oil – This is virgin oil that has been subjected to chemical treatment to neutralize bitter taste. It is Refined olive oil is low in quality compared to virgin oil.
- Olive pomace oil – This class of oil is obtained by subjecting olive fruits to both chemical solvents and heat. It is usually of a low quality compared to the other two.
Benefits of Olive Oil
Olive oil contains varied useful elements. These include oleic acid, palmitic acid, fatty acids, sterols, antioxidant properties and hydroxytyrosol. Nutritional values of olive include energy (3,701 kj per 100 g), fat (100g), saturated fats (14 g), monounsaturated fats (73 g), polyunsaturated fats (11 g), omega-3 fatty acids (1.5 g), omega-6 fatty acids (varied amounts), vitamin E (14 mg) and vitamin K (62 ug). Contrary to popular belief, olive oil does not contain any carbohydrates or proteins.
Some of the advantages of olive oil include:
- Skin care benefits – Olive oil is an effective topical application and has been used so for centuries. In particular, virgin olive oil is preferred for its high quality. It not only oils the skin but moisturizes the skin as well. It encourages the regeneration of skin cells, enabling the skin to have a youthful appearance. Olive oil is widely used by men in shaving instead of shaving creams. Studies undertaken have also established that virgin olive oil is effective in preventing the sun’s dangerous UVB rays, thereby preventing the occurrence of skin cancer. Presently, olive oil is incorporated in various cosmetics including body creams and soaps as an ingredient.
- Medicinal use – Olive oil has been established to contain various medicinal properties. It is safe for use and does not cause any allergic reactions. Olive oil is effective in relaxing body systems, allowing for smooth bowel movement and eliminating intestinal contractions. It also relieves pain and taken in small amounts, it has the capacity to reduce incidents of heart disease. This is why olive salad diet is recommended for those with heart ailments. Olive oil has also been found to greatly lower blood cholesterol, making the heart healthier.
- Nutrition – Olive nutritional benefits are many. All the oil’s contents have a positive effect on health, enabling various body functions to take place. Olive salad diet is very popular with those suffering heart ailments for its positive effect on the cardiovascular system in general.
All the classes of olive oil are available in various stores including online stores where they retail at relatively low prices.