December 18, 2009

Olive Oil: Treatment and Health Benefits

Posted in Category : Foods that Heal

Olive oil forms an important component in the diet in the Mediterranean region where olives are quite abundant. Olive oil is essentially a fruit juice as during the process of pressing, microscopic plant material remains in the oil. This is believed to contribute greatly to the benefits that olive oil has on the health. For other vegetable oils, solvents are used to extract the oil from the plant. This is not the case for olive oil, which still maintains the nutrients and properties of the fruit even after extraction. Olive oil contains a high content of antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids. It has been known to be effective in preventing heart disease as it regulates cholesterol levels in the body. Olive oil has a high quantity of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid.

Digestion and processing of olive oil takes place very easily. It also serves to protect the gastrointestinal tract and prevent gastritis and stomach ulcers. It promotes the production of bile and stimulates the secretion of pancreatic hormones. It also lowers the risk of gall bladder stone formation. Extra virgin olive oil is the oil that is extracted from the initial pressing stage of the olives. This type of olive oil is higher in antioxidant content, mainly vitamin E and phenolic antioxidants. Consumption of extra virgin olive in substantial quantities protects the body against skin, colon and breast cancer. It also slows down aging and reduces the risk of developing coronary heart disease by restricting lipid peroxidation which is associated with diseases such as cancer and heart conditions.


It has been found that the rate of skin cancer is very low in the Mediterranean region where olive oil is consumed in large amounts. Olive oil has been used down the ages for treating an upset stomach, aiding in digestion and for curing constipation. It has also been used to restrict absorption of alcohol by the body. Olive oil is very beneficial for the skin and can be used to treat all kinds of skin conditions. Regular application of olive oil makes the skin soft and supple. It works well in preventing dryness, restricting the formation of wrinkles and in treating acne. Used on the hair, olive oil reduces dandruff. The nails can also be strengthened by soaking them in warm olive oil. Aching muscles can be relaxed by massaging the body with olive oil. Drops of olive oil put into the nose will also help to ease congestion.