Olive oil contains fatty acids, macro nutrients and vitamins and is very beneficial for our well being. ‘Why fat?’ You may ask. Well we are in a time and era where people believe in reducing and in some cases totally avoiding fat content by eating more sugar containing food.
Weird right? I know. The truth is fat is very essential in our diet. It is needed to help the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K. It also slows down the absorption of other nutrients so that you feel full for a longer time and you do not indulge in over eating.
Fat is also a major component of our body’s cells, provides energy and is also very essential for liver functioning. It also adds taste to our food, making it more delicious to eat. And even more important of all the importance of fat, our brain is made up of 50 percent fat. Now where does olive oil come in all of this? Well, the body doesn’t synthesize essential fatty acid and it needs to get it from our diet. And what’s one thing olive oil is known for? Fatty acids!
Consuming olive oil frequently and also including it majorly in our diet serves a good purpose in our body, ranging from body health, skin care, nails and hair nourishments. A few of the many benefits of including olive oil to your diet include:
1. Reduce inflammation:
Olive oil works like ibuprofen to reduce inflammation in the body. It contains 30 polyphenols that act as anti-oxidants and reduce inflammation in the body. The monounsaturated fatty acid contained in olive oil helps increase High Density Lipids (HDL) cholesterol, the good cholesterol, in the body while decreasing Low Density Lipid (LDL) cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, in the body. Research shows that 3 and a half table spoon of olive oil is as effective as ten percent ibuprofen dosage. It may not seem like much, but it is a better and healthier option.
2. Weight loss:
The oleic acid contained in olive oil has a satiating effect and prevents that mid-meal hunger that causes us to munch on unhealthy snacks. As mentioned above, it reduces the absorption of other nutrients, so you will feel fuller for a longer time. Although the calories contained in olive oil may be high, when you are just not that hungry and you reduce your food intake, your overall amount of calorie you consume will be reduced.
3. Control of blood sugar level:
Olive oil has the ability to keep your blood sugar level low and is great for diabetic patients and those with pre-existing insulin dependent diseases. It is however, not advised for individuals with low blood sugar or those with glucagon deficiency diseases and illnesses.
4. For a healthy colon:
Extra virgin olive oil contains antioxidants that rid the body of free radicals and oxidants that could cause cell damage or even lead to cancer. It also provides relief from constipation as well as improves the patency of the colon. Olive oil cleans the colon and rids it of bacteria and germs, enabling it to work better. A healthy colon can prevent lots of diseases and illness.
5. Healthy gall bladder:
Olive oil increases the production and secretion of pancreatic juices and bile. Bile is essential for the emulsification of fat so that it can be absorbed in the intestinal wall. Lack of ability of the body to emulsify fat can cause fat build up and also cause gallstones. Therefore, consuming olive oil reduces the risk of formation of gall stones.
6. Healthier hair and skin:
Drinking olive oil provides the skin with anti-ageing compounds such as vitamin E which is also essential for hair growth. The fatty acid contained in it also moisturizes the skin and the hair. When applied topically, it softens, repairs, moisturizes and nourishes the skin, hair and nails.
It also promotes hair growth and grows stronger nails. It can be used as hair or skin mask, or as a moisturizer. You can also use it as a recipe for a DIY exfoliating scrub by mixing it with sugar. It is however, more beneficial when ingested.
7. To clean the liver:
The liver performs a wide range of function and cleans all our internal organs and systems, including itself. Olive oil contributes and assists in cleaning out the liver as it contains anti-oxidants to help detoxify the liver. For even more effects, mix it with lemon juice and drink daily for an overall healthier liver.
8. Improve the immune system:
The fatty acid contained in olive oil regulates and supports the immune system as well as treatment of autoimmune diseases.
9. Heart health:
A high amount of cholesterol in the body, especially low-density lipid (LDL) cholesterol, the bad kind, is terrible for heart health. they may become deposited in the arteries and veins, causing their spaces to be narrower and this could cause various heart issues, depending on which blood vessel is affected. The high-density lipid (HDL) cholesterol present in olive oil dislodges LDL from the body and therefore prevents its accumulation in important blood vessels.
10. Protects the brain and boosts brain function:
Our brain suffers from free radicals. Olive oil, with its anti-oxidant properties, helps the body get rid of these radicals. It boosts brain function, prevents Alzheimer’s disease, depression and memory declination. It is therefore advised to consume olive oil frequently as we age.
Now I have to admit, olive oil is not the best tasting substance out there and it may be difficult consuming it daily. You could always replace your normal fat products such as butter, cooking oil or salad dressing with olive oil.
You could also mix it with lemon juice and ingest it every morning. This makes the taste more bearable and as lemon has its own benefits, it makes it healthier. if you are using olive oil to cook, do not subject it to too much heat over a long period of time as that may destroy its nutrients and may also cause the formation of oxidants and radicals that may do more harm than good.
If you need to cook it for a long time, then replace it with coconut oil or almond oil, which are also healthy options. It is however, more beneficial to ingest it raw without any alterations that to cook it. It will take some getting used to and you will need to start little. Try taking a teaspoon at first, and then a table spoon till your used to the taste and can handle the feel of it in your mouth.