Why You Should Eat Olive Oil Every Day. The Amazing Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
"Where has all your eczema gone?" I once asked one of my old friends, who all of a sudden surprised me with a completely normal and healthy complexion - he who always had had a tendency of a bit of a "snowfall" on the shoulder pads and dry spots on the neck and forehead.
"Olive oil." He replied.
"Olive oil?" I asked in disbelief, cause I’ve always found that that oil was a bit overrated and had a weird taste, and I'd suspected EU to be behind all the praises of it to support the countries in southern Europe.
"Yes I eat it all the time - I put it on everything. On salads and smoothies and anywhere else I can think of. "
"I must say... Impressive change!" I gave him. And realized that this 65 year old gentleman had just given me a huge beauty tip and an incentive to learn more about the powerful juices of the olives.
Contents of this blog:
What Olive oil does for your brain and the body
What Olive oil does for for your skin
4 Olive Oil Beauty Tips
All about Extra Virgin Olive Oil
watch out for fake olive oils
How to tell if your olive oil is the real thing
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet - an important nutritional mainstay for the world's longest living cultures. People in Crete for instance consumes an average of about 30 litres of the oil per year. In Germany 0.2 litres are consumed per person/year.
The health benefits of olive oil are many and scientists worldwide find daily more and more new properties. In fact, they’ve only just started to understand the myriad of ways olive oil can improve our health and our lives. Below I've described some of the most powerful nutrients in the oil and its impact on the skin, the brain and the body.
What Olive oil does for the brain and the body
Cultures with olive oil-based diets have shown to have significantly lower rates of typical lifestyle diseases like cardiovascular diseases, allergies, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and the fat in olive oil has many health benefits and helps breaks down the bad LDL-cholesterol, and the oil has positive effects on digestion.
Two of the major health secrets of olive oil are Hydroxytyrosol (HT) and Oleuropein (OL):
Not many people know what Hydroxytyrosol (HT) and Oleuropein (OL) are, but these molecules have been and are continually subject to scientific studies. They are polyphenols extracted from the EVOO. These polyphenols have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, blood circulation protection properties and other biological capacities, and offer protection against oxidative stress and certain diseases. Their capacity for absorbing cell-damaging free radicals is considered to be 15 times higher than green tea and three times that of CoQ 10.
Furthermore. HT and OL has these very special characteristics:
- Are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and tissues, where it can perform its free radical scavenging duties.
- They release the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, which is important for nerve protection, blood pressure and heart rate.
- They are fat and water soluble, giving it the highest bioavailability of any antioxidant.
- HT is the only phenol that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which allows it to also absorb free radicals throughout the central nervous system.
Science has showed that HT og OL:
- Reduce inflammation.
- Strengthen the immune system.
- Stimulate bone formation, prevent osteoporosis and improve the quality of life for osteoporosis patients.
- Improve eyes and eyesight.
- Protect against cardiovascular disease, among other things by increasing the antibody that reduces the levels of bad cholesterol (oxidized LDL cholesterol), which is considered a risk factor for arterial hardening and heart disease.
- Have a therapeutic effect on the cardiovascular system.
- Enhance breast tissue and prevents breast cancer.
- Prevent diabetes by reducing insulin sensitivity and increase the production of insulin from the pancreas.
- Enhance learning and memory functions of the brain.
- Improve blood circulation and allow blood to flow out to the remotest corners of the body - which also support the sexual drive.
Oleocanthal - an anti-inflammatory and cancer inhibiting chemical
Oleocanthal is another great chemical found only in EVOO, which has shown to have strong natural anti-inflammatory properties. And it is well known within established research that diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular-, arthritis, and dementia- disorders are often caused by chronic inflammation in the body.
- Cancer: Oleocanthal has anti-productive effects on breast and prostate cancer and promotes cancer cell death and reduces the risk of prostate, lung, larynx, abdomen, breast and colon cancer.
- Joints: Oleocanthal keeps the body supple and attenuates the inflammatory mediators leading to joint diseases. It has also been shown to be able to reduce arthritic pain by decreasing the prostaglandin production.
- Dementia: Studies have shown that oleocanthal can prevent the development of Alzheimer's disease, and reduce the formation of beta-amyloid senile plaques in the brain, which is believed to be involved in the initiation of Alzheimer's. The anti-inflammatory component of extra virgin olive oil has also been found to be able to pick up the pesticide-induced free radicals that contribute to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer and Parkinson.
What Olive oil does for your skin
There are five very important ingredients in olive oil, which together and separately strengthens the skin's resistance to cancer and aging. In the Mediterranean countries skin disorders like dry skin and skin cancer are very rare compared to the Nordic countries and Australia.
Squalane, well known as ‘Nature's Facelift is a botanical lipid that mirrors human lipids in molecular structure and weight, making it a great choice for regenerative skin care and anti-aging products.
Our skin has sufficient levels of squalane when we're young, and healthy. As we age the levels drop considerably, and by the time we're in our mid-thirties and forties, we no longer have sufficient levels to maintain a juicy, supple skin. It is believed that this drop off is, in part, responsible for many of the signs of aging skin, including the tendency to become easily damaged, thinner, and lack lustre. Squalane help to replenish the natural levels lost through the normal aging process, contributing to regenerative activity, to restore a more youthful appearance, and the resistance of inflammatory conditions.
Squalane and olive oil added to body oils and creams provides a more silky feel. It softens and nourishes the skin, and improves the tissues absorption of nutrients.
Despite warm climate and many hours of daily sunlight only three in every 100,000 residents of countries in the Mediterranean develop any form of skin cancer - in Australia, the figure is 50 in every 100,000 residents. You can read more about the healings rays of the sun in my post here.
One reason is the mixture of the content of carotenoids and monounsaturated fatty acids in the diet. Olive oil is rich in carotenoids, which are found in all green parts of plants, where they are able to convert excess light energy into heat. Without carotenoids plants would be killed by sunlight. Research has shown that the human body develops a resistance to the harmful rays of the sun because of the carotenoids. Monounsaturated fatty acids help the body to maximize the absorption of carotenoids.
Vitamin E is considered an antioxidant superstar in its own right. This fat-soluble vitamin works in several different ways to protect cell membranes from oxidative damage and to prevent collagen from being destroyed. It also works in powerful synergy with vitamin C.
Studies have shown that polyphenols applied to the skin protect against UV radiation and improves skin cell renewal. When you consume polyphenols in the diet the blood flow and oxygenation of the skin increases, which purifies, strengthens, and improves skin texture.
Olive oil soothes irritated and inflamed skin and can reduce eczema, dandruff, and psoriasis through oleocanthal - this chemical inhibits the enzyme cyclooxygenase, which causes inflammation in the skin and body.
Hypersensitivity to olive oil is extremely rare, hence the oil is an obvious allergy-friendly treatment option for these classic skin disorders.
4 Olive Oil Beauty Tips
- For a nice soft skin feel: Mix salt (or sugar) with olive oil and use as a scrub in the shower.
- For the dry spots, scalp and mucous: Mix ½ cup olive oil, ½ cup melted coconut oil and the content of two capsules of vitamin E. Apply the mixture to dry areas (can also be used in mouth, nose, and intimate areas).
- For relief of constipation and for beautiful skin: Mix 3 tbsp. olive oil, ½ tsp. turmeric powder, 2 tsp. Psyllium husks, and 1 pinch of pepper. Drink in one mouthful and IMPORTANT: Drink a minimum of ½ litres of fresh water immediately after.
- For skin, hair and general well-being: Make it a habit every day to add some EVOO on dressings, in smoothies, and on bread and in drinks.
All about Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The most important thing I have learned about this oil is that the only way you can get all the distinctive sources of nutrition in the oil, is from the cold pressed oils made from freshly picked olives.
Olive oil is the juice extracted from olives and olive stones nothing else. In contrary to many other oils (like sunflower seed oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil etc.) that go through a chemical process in the making, you can eat olive oil straight from the grinder without any refining process.
EVOO is in the best category of olive oils in which no errors or deviations have occurred. The olives are picked without touching the ground to avoid soil bacteria, and are then cleaned and extracted. To obtain as good and pure a taste as possible the extraction must be done no more than a few hours - and no more than 24 - after harvesting. Avoiding oxidation during the extraction preserves the oil’s freshness and its rich content of polyphenols and other antioxidants. The olive stones are also pressed and crushed in the grinder mill because they contain substances, which helps to give the oil a longer shelf life and to prevent oxidation. To preserve all the good nutrients and the oils health benefits the olive paste must be kept below 27 degrees (cold pressing) throughout the extracting process.
After extracting and filtering the olive farmer will either sell his oil from own bottles or bulk and sell it to large manufacturers, who buy up oils from different regions and countries and blend them together.
watch out for fake olive oils
EVVO is generally considered to be the highest quality olive oil available, but several investigations in the last few years reveal that many of these olive oils can be adulterated.
With the growing global demand, some companies have cut corners and passed lower quality oils as extra virgin or adulterated the olive oil by adding vegetable oils.
Many reports were that the main oils affected were in Italy, but more recent investigations revealed that these problems occurred in olive oils from around the world and that it is important to verify the quality of olive oil from any source.
Tom Mueller the author of "Extra Virginity" claims that 75% to 80% of the olive oil labeled extra virgin that reaches Americans is really not extra virgin.
If you want to know more about olive oil Tom Mueller's book provides specifics on how olive oils have been modified and mislabeled.
How to tell if your olive oil is the real thing
- Pay a sensible price. Unfortunately, a 50cl bottle costing £15 is, on balance, less likely to have problems than one costing £2.
- The oil must be labeled with origin i.e. named manufacturer and production site (grand cru)
- Olive type must be specified.
- Never buy EVOO in a clear bottle - It oxidises and goes rancid far faster.
- Avoid mixed blends from big manufactures, which reduces the quality.
- Look for a harvest date. They're starting to appear now, albeit on only a few bottles, and they'll tell you how old the oil is. It's not an absolute guarantee of quality, but half the battle.
- If no harvest date appears use the expiry day as indicator. The shelf life of EVOO is normally two years so if it says, “expires July 2017” on the label the oil was produced in July 2014.
- At Oliviers & Co you can get more info and tastings. I found this one on Amazon also.
I believe the reason why I did't used to like olive oil was that I'd only tasted the mixed version. After I've tried the real stuff, I've become very fond of the olive oil taste. I get my EVVO from Oliviers & Co., who offers the most delicious and cleanest grand cru oils from France, Spain and Italy. I prefer their organic French one. It's mild and immensely delicious.
Olive oil is like good red wine - once you have tasted the expensive bottles, you are reluctant to go back to supermarket versions.
All information in this blog is strictly for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. The statements made in this blog have not been evaluated by The Danish Health Authority. The products linked to in this book and any information published in this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided by this blog is not a substitute for a faceto-face consultation with your physician, and should not be construed as medical advice. The entire contents of this blog are based upon the opinions of Hanne Robinson. By reading and using this blog, you agree to only use this publication for personal informational use and not as a substitute for medical or other professional advice.