Olive oil is extracted from olives, and it is used for cooking as well as skincare. Olives are a traditional tree crop that is found in the Mediterranean basin. A common ingredient in cooking food, for salad dressing or frying, olive oil benefits are many that are amalgamated in soaps, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and oil lamps, etc. Olive oil is also used for religious purposes in a few cultures too. Mediterranean cuisine has olive as one of the three primary food plants. Grapes and wheat are the other two core ingredients.
By volume, the largest producer of olives is Spain. Greece and Italy follow Spain in the production of olives. Its composition varies due to altitude, cultivar, its process of extraction, and harvesting time. Mainly, olives contain oleic acid and fatty acids that include linoleic and palmitic acid. Due to the best in class olive oil benefits, it is now being used for various purposes, which will be discussed further in this article.
Types of olive oil
The texture and look of olive oil are vibrant and beautiful, and its fragrance alongside the other factors makes its taste quiet similar to wine. However, different variables, while its production tends to give drastic differences in terms of color, flavor, and aroma as well. Thus, several words are used for the differentiation of its versions. These differences are responsible for providing different olive oil benefits.
Factors impacting olive oil taste
- Soil and location conditions
- Factors such as weather conditions and environmental situations during olive oil growing season
- Ripeness of olive
- Harvesting timing
- Duration of time between the harvesting and pressing process
- Techniques of pressing
- Storage and packaging methods
The grading of olive oil is determined via acidity content, production method, and the flavor of the olives.
Numerous varieties all around the world
While looking to buy olive oil, you would find plenty of variations all around the globe. Spain does a majority of the entire world’s supply and then countries like Italy and Greece. California and France are also on this list. The location and harvesting process contributes a significant part in olive oil benefits.
Here’s is how geographical location affects olive oil:
- The olive oil found in Spain is golden yellow. It has a nutty and fruity flavor. Spain produces about 45% of the world’s supply.
- Olive oil in Italy is usually dark green having a grassy flavor and a herbal aroma. Italy produces about 20% of olive.
- The olive oil produced by Greece inherits both an intense aroma and flavor. It is green in color. Greece contributes about 13% of olive oil production around the world.
To form a unique variety and offer blended olive oil benefits, people blend oils produced by different countries. The bulk blending of olive oils results in most budget-friendly olive oils, but still, they do not compromise with the quality of the olive oil. On the contrary, some producers, to form a pure and unaltered version f olive oil, use olives grown in a particular area of the country. Therefore, such regional olive oils are preferred because of the unique flavor they have.
Olive oil grades
Edible olive oil is categorized into three grades and other kinds in every category. For instance, an extra virgin olive oil comprises:
Premium extra virgin olive oil,
Extra virgin olive oil
A virgin olive oil includes:
- Fine virgin olive oil,
- Virgin olive oil, and
- Semi-fine olive oil
The extraction process of olive oil
Olives undergo a series of steps to extract the oil from them. Here is a brief of steps of extracting olive oil:
Olives undergo the cleaning process, and they are removed from this step. Also, twigs, leaves, and other forms of debris are cleaning in this process. They are appropriately washed to remove dirt, pesticides, etc.
After cleaning, they are ground to form a fine paste. The primary purpose behind crushing olives is to separate flesh cells allowing the release of oils contained in the vacuoles. In this process, grinders with metal teeth, stone mills, and other kinds of hammer mills are used.
After the cleaning and grinding of olives into a thick paste, they are mixed for about 20 minutes to 45 minutes allowing the small droplets of oil combining to get bigger. In this indispensable step, the paste is either heated or mixed with water during the mixing process for increasing the oil yielding. Although, mixing water lowers the oil quality. The longer the paste is mixed, the lesser the shelf life is.
The last step is the separation of oil and eliminating the other olive components. It is done through pressing. Some standard terms at present for ‘pressing’ are ‘cold-pressed’ and ‘first pressed.’ All the above steps high-end quality and best olive oil benefits.
Nutrients composition of olive oil
If you want to get a maximum of olive oil benefits, there are some nutrients that olive oil is rich in. Knowing the information about its nutrients, you can use it in a more effective and result-oriented manner.
In one tablespoon, which is about 13.5 grams: the contained nutrients are:
- 14% saturated fats,
- 73% mono-saturated fats major part of which is oleic acid,
- 13% of the daily value of vitamin E,
- 7% of the daily value of Vitamin K.
It also contains antioxidants, biologically active. They are also capable of fighting some deadly diseases. It has anti-inflammatory oleocanthal and Oleuropein. Both of them prevent oxidation of bad cholesterol or LDL. It recovers the health of blood vessels through improvement in the functioning of endothelium, blood vessels’ lining. Besides, it also prevents blood clotting, which is responsible for strokes and heart attacks. It helps in lowering blood pressure.
Olive oil benefits for health
1. Good fats to maintain heart health
It contains mono-saturated fats or MUFA that lowers the bad cholesterol along with controlling the total amount of cholesterol in your body. Reduced LDL indicates that it prevents clogging of the arteries, reducing the risks of heart attacks and other cardiac issues.
2. Powerpack of antioxidants
Olive oil includes Vitamin E, phenolic, and carotenoid compounds, which are high antioxidants that enable the lowering of free radicals creation. Free radicals are harmful and extremely damaging to the body.
3. Controls blood pressure
Apart from MUFAs, it has other essential fatty acids in a high amount known as omega-3. Studies claim that both MUFAs and EFA (Essential Fatty Acids) maintain the health of your heart by lowering the blood pressure.
4. Prevention of depression
Among other miraculous olive oil benefits, it impacts not only your physical but emotional health too. Researchers have found that a diet with a high amount of olive oil lowers the mental illness risks.
5. Prevention of osteoporosis
It enhances calcium level in your blood, thus positively affecting bone density. In the long run, it prevents the development of osteoporosis.
6. Lowering Alzheimer’s disease risk
Since it contains Olecanthal, studies have proved that it protects an individual from the dangers of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It also prevents cognitive decline, which often comes due to aging.
7. Reduction in inflammation
it is found that olive oil mimics the effects of non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs. It helps in rheumatoid arthritis. Oleocanthal inhibits enzymes with prop-inflammatory properties. It significantly affects both acute and chronic inflammatory processes.
8. Pain reliever
It also relieves pain, which is possible with the oleocanthal compound. It helps in the reduction of body inflammation, which cures any sort of body pain.
9. lowering the chances of breast cancer
Some studies have proven that women who include olive oil in their diet are less prone to develop breast cancer in comparison to women who don’t consume olive oil. It has a compound named ‘Oleuropein” having anti-cancer characteristics.
10. Prevention of Diabetes
As olive oil has plenty of healthy fats, they collectively keep the blood sugar level under control. If you use olive oil in cooking and not any regular ordinary cooking oils, it is beneficial for the prevention of diabetes.
Olive oil benefits for skin, hair, and nails
Besides the great benefits of olive oil health, let’s know the benefits of olive oil for skin, hair, and nails. There are manifold benefits of olive oil to sustain the beauty and maintain the health of skin and hair. It is an excellent remedy for skin and hair issues. Olive oil of a power pack of anti-aging agents, hydrating properties, and antioxidants.
1. Hair treatment
Since Egyptian times, people have been using olive oil for hair treatment. You can use it before shampooing to get superb and shiny hair.
2. A perfect solution for lips
For those chapped and lifeless lips, you can use olive oil as a scrub blending it with coarse sugar. You can use this scrub on the whole body.
3. Eye Make-up remover
Surprised? If you are wondering that using olive oil on the face would complicate skin and clog pores, it isn’t true. On the contrary, you can blend it with other products to get a perfect pre-cleansing for removing harsh eye makeup. You can also blend it up with a face wash or warm water.
4. The perfect remedy for ear-wax
For people having a constant build-up of ear wax, olive oil is capable of flushing out the ear wax clog. Put small drops of olive oil for 3 to 4 nights, and it will loosen the excess amount of ear wax.
5. Healthy hair shine serum
Throw out the chemically treated hair serums to get shiny and free-flowing hair. You don’t need any other hair product for imparting hair shine. Rub some amount of olive oil on hair after hair styling to get that seamless and glossy finish.
6. Natural lubricant for shaving
No shaving cream and running out of time? Use olive oil for slathering the legs before the application of the blade. It acts as a natural lubricant for warding off bumps and burns due to razor application.
7. Cuticle conditioner
Olive oil is a brilliant conditioner for those delicate cuticles. Also, it promotes stronger and longer nails.
8. Antibacterial Balm
Are you looking for ways to go completely natural and throw out all chemicals from your life? Begin with using olive oil to treat scars and remove germs. With the antibacterial properties, olive oil for skin plays a fantastic role in taking care of the skin naturally.
9. Remedy for Eczema
Olive oil works as an instant moisturizer and heals eczema. Olive oil for skin issues such as dehydrated and cracking skin or worse problems such as eczema is a natural and effective way for treatment.
10. Treatment of diaper-rash
When it comes to your baby, you would not like to compromise with his/her health, and you would do anything to keep that delicate soft skin from any rashes. Yet, the market has an uncountable amount of such products that are neither safe for adults nor babies, absolutely not. Use olive oil to moisturize the baby’s bottom. It will treat the rashes that often develop due to the use of diapers for long hours.
11. Repairing cracked heel
Can’t find anything to treat rough, split, and severely cracked heels? Try olive oil this time. It will give all the moisture that your heels needs, and they will be healed in no time.
Tips for using olive oil in cooking
Olive oil carries various flavors. Flavors of spices and foods in olive oil make it best for cooking use. You can use it liberally in sweet dishes and usual meals. Its beautiful and manifold properties for health-boosting are worth to remember and use them effectively in your cooking.
Both extra virgin and virgin olive oils are suitable for low and medium temperature cooking. For high-temperature cooking like frying, use grade olive oils and refined olive oils.
Use virgin and extra virgin oil in uncooked dishes because they lose their flavor if heated. Olive oil is perfect for baking, too, as it will include polyphenolic compounds and MUFAs in the diet.