Olive oil is the only plant oil that can be used and consumed raw and untreated. Its use as a medicine was first noted by Hippocrates and is still vigorously explored in modern science.
Olive oil is taken internally and applied topically. Being a Western herb, it does not have a long history of traditional use in Ayurvedic or traditional Chinese medicine. Olive oil can be used in Ayurvedic massage, where it is considered a warming oil that will encourage the dosha Kapha, a constitution that is oily, cool, heavy, slow and smooth. In traditional Chinese medicine, the olive is considered a neutral food, and may be used to heal sore throats, treat laryngitis or combat dysentery.
Olive oil is an important component of the Mediterranean diet, which is widely studied for its ability to reduce cardiac events and mortality from those cardiac events. Olive oil has been shown to reduce myocardial infarctions, strokes, high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation. It improves HDL the good cholesterol while decreasing LDL the bad cholesterol reducing the risk of atherosclerosis. Olive oil has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes in elderly people who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, and improve insulin sensitivity in middle aged people. It is also helpful for preventing metabolic syndrome and obesity.
While the Mediterranean diet itself, which is rich in fruits and vegetables, low in meat intake and high in whole grains, is beneficial for these conditions, it is specifically the supplementation with additional polyphenol-rich extra virgin olive oil that confers these benefits.
Olive oil has been used for constipation. A study showed olive oil to be an effective replacement for mineral oil in the treatment of constipation in patients undergoing hemodialysis. As interest and research into the microbiome and immune system of the GI tract expands, olive oil is being studied for its role in protecting the GI tract. It has been found to stimulate the local immune system of the gutand support a beneficial shift towards healthy bacteria in the gut.
Olive oil, when used in high doses to augment the Mediterranean diet, has been shown to prevent breast cancer. This is probably due to its vitamin E and polyphenol content.
Olive oil is used to stimulate release of bile from the gall bladder in the popular protocol called the Gall Bladder Flush. This protocol is not recommended unless the presence of gall stones has been ruled out, as they may become lodged in the bile duct, causing a painful attack and risking the need for an emergency procedure.
Olive oil has also been used as an analgesic, and as a topical agent to treat ear wax, tinnitus, wounds, psoriasis, burns and stretch marks. Olive leaf is a popular herbal anti-viral.
More Facts About Olive Fruit Oil
Unrefined, extra virgin olive oil will contain the best profile of nutrients and fats. It may be darker in color and stronger in scent than a refined oil, but the overall scent and taste should still be fairly mild. There may be sediment that forms in the bottle.
Olive allergies are not common, but if you are allergic to olive, do not use olive oil topically or internally. Olive oil is made from whole olives. Olive oil does not tend to be allergenic and can safely be added to children's diets or used topically. If your child does have an allergy to olives, do not use olive oil with your child. Ask your doctor about testing for olive allergies.
You can absolutely cook with olive oil and many people do. Extra virgin olive oils smoke at fairly low temperatures, so they are best used for cold dishes or recipes prepared with little heat. Virgin olive oil is good for lower temperature cooking, but is more stable against heat than an EVOO. The healthy phenols of olive oil break down under heat, so for health benefits they are best used in salad dressings or recipes that are not prepared with heat.
Kept under proper storage conditions, olive oil will last up to two years. The high vitamin E content of olive oil actually works to protect it from the oxidative stress that forms as oil begins to go rancid, extending its shelf life. Olive oil should be kept in cool conditions, as it will break down at higher temperatures. It has been suggested that oils that solidify when left in the refrigerator are good quality. This test is really measuring the content of saturated fat in the oil, since all saturated fats will solidify as they cool. The amount of saturated fat is the result of the type of olive used, not the oils freshness.
Most studies show that weight loss is the result of more olive and olive oils in the diet. As a nutrient-dense food, it can help you feel full sooner, replacing higher carbohydrate foods that are lower in nutrients overall.
Caution And Considerations
Extra-virgin olive oil is frequently found to be fraudulently prepared. It may be adulterated with less expensive, more allergenic oils, such as soybean, corn or nut oils. If you have food allergies to any of these common additives, buy olive oil locally from a trusted source that can identify the grower and guarantee the purity.
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