Olive Oil: Health Benefits, Types, and Uses


Olive oil is a popular cooking ingredient that has been used for centuries. It is extracted from the fruit of the olive tree, which is native to the Mediterranean region. Olive oil is rich in healthy fats and carries numerous health benefits. In this article, we will discuss the health benefits, nutrition facts, other uses, and more of olive oil.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive oil contains humongous amounts of antioxidants. Looking for a choice of oil packed with benefits in abundance, olive oil can be your go-to solution −

Heart health

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good for heart health. It helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Cancer prevention

The phytonutrient compounds in olive oil have been shown to help prevent various types of cancers, including breast, colon, and prostate cancer.

Anti-inflammatory properties

Olive oil contains oleocanthal, a compound that has anti-inflammatory properties. This can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and may help prevent chronic diseases such as arthritis and Alzheimer's disease.

Blood sugar control

Olive oil has been shown to improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. It can also help prevent insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes.

Digestive health

Olive oil has a beneficial effect on the digestive system. It can help reduce inflammation in the gut, improve nutrient absorption, and prevent digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Nutrition Facts about Olive Oil

Mostly considered the rich man’s choice, olive oil is a popular cooking oil that is often praised for its health benefits. Here are some nutrition facts about olive oil −

  • Olive oil is also a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals.

  • It is a healthy choice compared to other types of cooking oils, but it is still a high-calorie food and should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

  • Olive oil is high in calories and fat, but it is also packed with nutrients. Here are the nutrition facts for one tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil −

    • Calories: 120

    • Fat: 14 grams

    • Saturated fat: 2 grams

    • Monounsaturated fat: 10 grams

    • Polyunsaturated fat: 2 grams

    • Vitamin E: 13% of the Daily Value

Types of Olive Oil

It is always recommended to understand the different types and the value they carry. This will help us choose the oils better −

  • Extra virgin olive oil − This is the highest quality olive oil, with the best flavour and the most health benefits. It is made from pure, cold-pressed olives and has no chemicals or solvents.

  • Virgin olive oil − This is also made from pure, cold-pressed olives, but it has a slightly lower quality and flavour than extra virgin olive oil.

  • Pure olive oil − This is a blend of virgin and refined olive oils. It has a mild flavour and is lower in quality than virgin olive oil.

  • Light olive oil − This is a highly refined olive oil that has a lighter flavor and color than other olive oils. It is lower in calories and fat than other olive oils.

Uses of Olive Oil

Olive oil is a versatile and popular cooking oil that can also be used for a variety of other purposes. Here are some common uses of olive oil −

Cooking

Olive oil is commonly used for cooking and frying due to its high smoke point and mild flavour. It can be used in a variety of dishes, such as sautéed vegetables, roasted meats, and salad dressings.

Salad dressings

Olive oil is often used as a base for homemade salad dressings, such as vinaigrettes. It can be combined with other ingredients, such as vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, and spices, to create a flavourful dressing.

Baking

Olive oil can be used in baking as a substitute for butter or other oils. It can add a moist texture to baked goods, such as cakes and bread. Ever tried the olive-enriched focaccia bread? It’s heaven and one must try to know how it tastes!

Skincare

Olive oil is a common ingredient in skincare products due to its moisturizing and antioxidant properties. It can be used as a natural moisturizer, makeup remover, or hair conditioner.

Home remedies

Olive oil has been used in traditional home remedies for various ailments, such as earaches, constipation, and sore throats. It can also be used as a natural remedy for dry skin and dandruff.

Haircare

Olive oil can be used as a hair treatment to add shine and moisture to dry, damaged hair.

Cleaning

Olive oil can be used as a natural cleaner for furniture and other household surfaces. It can also be used to remove stains from clothing.

Conclusion

Overall, olive oil is a versatile ingredient that can be used for cooking, baking, skincare, and home remedies. It is important to choose high-quality olive oil for the best flavour and benefits.

Updated on: 31-Mar-2023

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