Health and Beauty Benefits of Olive Oil
Since ancient times, olive oil has proven to be of great use and value to many cultures. The people living in the Mediterranean have long known the health and beauty benefits of olive oil. Not only did they use olive oil as a culinary essential, but also as a healing remedy for medical ailments and an ingredient in cosmetics used to beautify the skin. The health and beauty benefits of olive oil start with a balanced diet.
The Mediterranean diet isn’t a diet at all. It’s a way of eating and living a healthy lifestyle. Olive oil is the main source of fat used in the Mediterranean diet. However, in order to see healthy results, you need to incorporate more than just olive oil into your diet. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products are consumed daily. The main source of protein comes from poultry, fish, and legumes. Red meat is not eliminated entirely, but is consumed in low amounts. This style of eating will incorporate the right nutrients, fiber and antioxidants into your diet resulting in a healthier you!
Olive Oil Health Benefits
There are many health and beauty benefits of olive oil, but the health benefits are sure to make you want to make the switch and start using it in place of butter and your current cooking oil. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes that replacing saturated fats with an equal amount of olive oil containing monounsaturated fats (including Omega-3 fatty acids) can provide heart health benefits plus much more.
Heart Health – Scientific evidence suggests that a diet rich in olive oil, like the Mediterranean diet, may improve the function of your arteries and slow down the aging process of your heart. Studies have found that the polyphenol antioxidants in extra virgin olive oil increase the elasticity in arterial walls, reducing vascular stress and the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It also helps regulate cholesterol levels by promoting the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol, and raises HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol.
In order to benefit from the consumption of olive oil, it is important to use a high quality extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil contains the highest level of antioxidants of any other cooking oil. The Omega-3 fatty acids combined with the antioxidants found in olive oil inhibit inflammation and help fight off cell damaging free radicals that can lead to diseases such as breast cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Other health benefits of olive oil include lowering blood pressure, preventing constipation and helping with the absorption of calcium which may help prevent osteoporosis.
Balsamic Vinegar Health Benefits – The health benefits of balsamic vinegar are also great and should not be overlooked. Balsamic vinegar is rich in minerals, low in sodium and has no cholesterol. Substitute high calorie salad dressings containing saturated fat for a healthy blend of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to gain the health benefits of both.
Balsamic vinegar boosts our metabolism and is also known to be an appetite suppressant which can help contribute to weight loss. It aids in digestion by stimulating enzymes that help breakdown proteins so they can be absorbed by our bodies more easily, improving our body’s functioning. Like olive oil, balsamic vinegar also has antioxidants containing polyphenols that work to repair damaging free radicals and protect our bodies from diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Benefits of Using Olive Oil for Skin
For generations, olive oil has been used as a natural moisturizer. Not only does it make skin feel soft and smooth, but offers healing qualities that regenerate skin cells. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in several vitamins such as vitamin A, D, K, and E, which help our skin fight off damaging free radicals. Cosmetics that contain olive oil can delay aging of the skin and smooth wrinkles by boosting collagen levels.
Extra virgin olive oil is a natural emollient that is gentle and compatible with all skin profiles. Even sensitive skin types can benefit from using olive oil for skin care. The antioxidants in olive oil act as a barrier between your skin and the harsh elements of our environment today. Olive oil is 100% natural and hypoallergenic, therefore, a good alternative to cosmetics containing parabens, colorants, sodium laureth sulfates, or fragrances that can contribute to skin sensitivities. Be sure to check out our beauty blogs for new skin care products and reviews!
*Disclaimer: The Grove is a resource for the latest information on olive oil and the health benefits associated with using olive oil. The information listed on this site is not intended as medical advice. The content is not intended to replace your current medical treatments or your physician’s advice. Please use the information responsibly and check with your physician first before making changes to your diet. If you are prone to skin allergies or irritations, please check with your dermatologist before using cosmetics that may contain ingredients that can cause irritations.