Olive oil – the magic potion with tons of benefits!

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Many experts, from nutritionists to doctors to fitness enthusiasts, may have often recommended using olive oil in place of other kinds of cooking oils, but do you know how it exactly benefits the body?

“Olive oil is that magical, multi-purpose ingredient, which is used across lifestyle spectrums for benefits – from nutrition and health to skin and hair,” explains fitness instructors.

Olive oil is the fat which is obtained from crushing olives, a fruit that is primarily grown and cultivated in the Mediterranean region. The oil, with its distinct pungent flavor, can add charm to so many of your boring dishes.

It is popular, not just for its distinct flavor but also for the numerous health benefits that it holds. It packs a healthy punch not only when consumed, olive oil also packs a bevy of skin, hair and beauty benefits too. Here’s a roundup of all that you ever wanted to know about olive oil.

Here is what makes olive oil a healthier option than other refined oils found in the market.

1. Source of Monosaturated fatty acids

Looking to shed some extra pounds? Switch to a diet that has least intake of trans fats. Olive oil is filled with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), a healthy fat that helps battle heart disease, cholesterol, and even blood sugar. Experts suggest that it is higher in MUFAs than sesame, coconut, rapeseed, sunflower and corn oil!

2. Source of Good Cholesterol

Olive oil promotes the flow high-density lipoproteins or HDL which is called the good cholesterol, which purifies the blood stream of plaque and toxin formation.

3. Good for hearth Health

Diets with high in MUFAs are linked to a healthy heart and fewer strokes. Olive oil’s ability to limit LDL or bad cholesterol further bolsters the heart health and also prevents strokes.

4. Good For Digestion

Olive oil can also work wonders for your gastrointestinal tract and colon. Olive oil helps stimulates the digestive system, making food move smoothly through the colon. This also helps speeding up bowel movement thereby constipation. Mixing a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice can be an effective remedy for constipation.

5. Benefits for skin

Olive oil is packed with vitamins E, A, D, K, antioxidants and hydrating squalene making it work well for skin. You name it, olive oil has a use for it.

It works as a moisturizer and protects your skin from excessive sun rays and air pollutants. Olive oil can act as a cleanser due to its ability to gently remove dead skin cells. The oil can be used to treat acne as it contains an abundance of vitamin E. It has anti ageing properties too.

6. Hair strengthening

The vitamin E rich olive oil works as a magic ingredient in strengthening hair follicles and fights hair loss. Massaging olive oil on your scalp hydrates the hair, reduces scalp irritation and treats dandruff. It further makes your mane look lustrous and fixes split end problem. Moreover, olive oil promotes hair growth with regular use.

7. Pain reliever

Oleocanthal, a compound present in the olive oil, lends olive oil immense anti-inflammatory properties, thereby making olive oil an excellent pain reliever be it externally or internally.

Types of olive oils

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  • Extra virgin olive oil

This is free of any defects of flavor or odor. No chemicals or extreme heat is used in the extraction process. It is known to have a superior taste and has not more than 0.8 percent free acidity, a parameter that defines the quality of the oil. This oil is good for salads.

  • Virgin olive oil

The word “virgin denotes that the oil is extracted by pressing the olives; no external heat or chemicals are used and the oil is pure. It has up to two percent free acidity. This oil is good for frying and sautéing while cooking.

  • Olive oil

This is made by blending refined olive oil with a virgin grade of olive oil. This oil is refined by using charcoal and other chemical and physical filters but they do not alter the glyceridic structure. This type of oil is best suited for regular cooking, advises experts.