Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive (Olea europaea; family Oleaceae), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps. Olive oil is used throughout the world, but especially in the Mediterranean countries.
Although the olive tree originated in Asia, it has been cultivated for over 3,000 years in Mediterranean countries, where much of the olive crop is used to make olive oil. In this process, olives are pitted and ground to a thick pulp. The pulp is then pressed to remove the juices, which are placed in a centrifuge to separate the water from the oil.
The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels. (1-3) No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid.
Diabetics or those at risk for diabetes are advised to combine a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet with olive oil.
Studies show this combination is superior at controlling blood sugar levels compared to a diet that consists entirely of low-fat meals. Adding olive oil is also linked to lower triglyceride levels. Many diabetics live with high triglyceride levels which put them at risk for heart disease.
Olive oil is rich in vitamins A, B-1, B-2, C, D, and Iron. Most importantly, olive oil helps the body to maintain strong levels of vitamin E, which is a great helper in delaying the aging process. You can also use olive oil as face moisturizer since the healthy fatty acid existing in olive oil encourage soft and suppler skin.