Health Today

12 Amazing Health Benefits of Olive Oil!

Olive oil in a bowl
Written by Dr Prachi Garg
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Olive oil is obtained by pressing whole olives (Olea europaea). It is commonly called ‘Jaitun ka Tel’ in Hindi. It is a widely used vegetable oil for cooking, frying and salad dressing. It is also used in cosmetics, soaps, medicines and for lighting lamps.

It is bright yellow or greenish or golden in colour with a pungent aroma and slightly bitter taste.

Nutritional Value of Olive Oil

  • 100 ml of Olive Oil provides us with 884 calories of energy
  • It is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial for health. It contains about 70 per cent of oleic acid. It also contains vitamin E and vitamin K
  • Polyphenols, tocopherols, phytosterols, squalene, terpenic acids and several other antioxidants are also present in olive oil

Benefits of Olive Oil

  • Powerful Antioxidant:

Olive oil is rich in polyphenols, vitamin E and various other antioxidants. [1]

These antioxidants protect our body from free radical damage. They thus keep us healthy and protect us from diseases of heart, cancer etc.

  • Good for our Cardiovascular System:

Consumption of Olive oil is associated with lower levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). [2]

Olive oil is rich in polyphenols. These polyphenols help to lower blood pressure. [3] Olive oil, thus is useful for patients with hypertension.

All the above effects help to protect our heart from various disorders.

  • Reduces Risk of Cancer:

Polyphenols present in olive oil are good antioxidants.

Consuming olive oil effectively reduces the risk of cancers of bowel, breast, colon, endometrium, prostate etc. [4]

Hydroxytyrosol and tocopherol exhibit potent anti-cancer properties.

  • Management of Diabetes Mellitus:

Olive oil contains an antioxidant called tyrosol. Tyrosol improves insulin resistance, thus preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.

Olive oil is useful in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. [5]

Also More: 5 Effective Ways to Control Diabetes

  • Reduces Risk of Stroke:

Polyphenols in olive oil reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood. Thus cholesterol deposition in the arteries supplying blood to the brain is prevented. This greatly reduces the risk of stroke. [6]

  • Antimicrobial:

Olive oil contains oleuropein. Oleuropein has potent antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. [7]

Consuming olive oil thus protects us from a variety of infections.

  • Good for Digestion:

Olive oil lubricates our digestive system and keeps it healthy. It also maintains regular bowel movements, preventing constipation.

Consuming olive oil on a regular basis prevents digestive diseases. [8]

  • Neuroprotective effects:

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease which is characterized by the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain.  There is a loss of memory in Alzheimer’s disease.

Oleocanthal present in olive oil helps to clear these plaques, thus showing improvement in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. [9]

Olive oil effectively reverses learning and memory deficits. [10]

  • Helps in Weight Loss:

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid. Monounsaturated fatty acids are good for our heart and also help in maintaining ideal blood sugar levels.

Olive oil also gives a feeling of satiety, thus making us eat less food thereby reducing our calorie intake. This leads to weight loss. [11]

  • Reduces Anxiety and Depression:

Olive oil shows neuroprotective effects. It helps in effectively reducing anxiety and depression. [12]

Read More: 15 Ways to Naturally Fight Depression

  • Pain Relief:

Oleocanthal in olive oil shows anti-inflammatory effects. It effectively reduces inflammation, swelling and spasm; thus reducing pain.

Olive oil when massaged over knees of patients suffering from osteoarthritis provides pain relief. [13]

  • Good for Bones:

Olive oil is bone protective. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects inhibit bone resorption. It increases the formation of bones. It helps in maintaining the bone mineral density.

Olive oil thus prevents the risk of osteoporosis. [14]

Read More: 10 Foods for Strong Bones

Benefits on Skin

Olive oil is a boon for our skin. Vitamin E and antioxidant content of Olive oil help to maintain healthy skin. Various effects of Olive oil on skin are :

  • Hydrates and effectively moisturizes our skin
  • Acts as a good exfoliator
  • Can be used to remove makeup
  • Prevents formation of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Helps to lighten scars and stretch marks
  • Prevents acne
  • Helps to repair cracked heels

Benefits on Hair

  • Olive oil hydrates our scalp and reduces itching and dryness
  • Reduces and prevents dandruff
  • Makes our hair healthy and shiny
  • Reduces and prevents hair fall
  • Promotes the growth of hair

Types of Olive Oil

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is made by cold-pressing olives. It is unrefined, expensive and has an excellent flavour and odour. It is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is of the best quality and also the most beneficial type for our health.

  • Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin olive oil is also obtained by cold pressing olives and has a low acid content.

It is the most popular type and less expensive than extra virgin variety. It is good in flavour and smell.

  • Pure Olive Oil

Though called pure, this type of Olive oil is actually a blend of virgin and refined oil. It has a high acid content and not recommended for consumption.

  • Refined Olive Oil

Refined olive oil is obtained by pressing lower quality olives and further subjecting them to heat, chemicals and filtration. It is bland in taste and not good for health.

  • Pomace Olive Oil

Pomace olive oil is obtained from the pulp of olives. After the olives are cold-pressed and oil is removed, the leftover is called the olive pulp. Solvents are used to extract pomace oil from the pulp.

Also Read: 8 Health Benefit & Uses of Mustard Oil

About the author

Dr Prachi Garg

A Gold Medallist Physiotherapist from the Maharashtra University
of Health Sciences (MUHS), and also a qualified Dietician who later
went on to establish the “Mera Health Genie Wellness, India” in 2009
with a vision to offer the best remedies possible through the medium
of alternative medicines.
Effectively used Physiotherapy, Diet and Nutrition, Yoga, and
Acupressure to help numerous people recover from an injury or
manage a long term problem, achieving fitness goals, managing
weight and well being.

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