Nature’s Most Perfect Oil

Nature’s Most Perfect Oil

Olive oil, which has been cultivated in Asia and in the Mediterranean for thousands of years, is among nature’s most perfect remedies. For thousands of years, ancient civilizations have used olive oil as well as honey to treat open wounds largely due to their anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.

Outside the body, olive oil can also be used as a moisturizer to soften skin and hair, reduce stretch marks, and build stronger, softer cuticles. Some claim it has an ability to curb hair loss. Since olive oil also contains vitamin E, it is a natural antioxidant.

When used as cooking oil, olive oil can reduce blood cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, but it is also useful to reduce earaches, constipation, and stomach upset. Olive oil taken internally can stimulate metabolism and promote healthy digestion as well as lubricate mucus membranes. Some research claims that one tablespoon taken on an empty stomach can relieve an upset stomach as well as reduce flatulence and/or heartburn. Combine that tablespoon instead with lemon juice as a remedy for constipation.

Upon closer examination, however, the benefits of the oil are experienced most effectively when people substitute extra virgin olive oil (or the least processed forms) of it for other more unhealthy fats like butter. The monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil help lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol blood levels without affecting HDL or “good” cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

According to Donald Hensrud, MD, using olive oil in your diet to safeguard against heart disease is only useful if you use it as a replacement to animal fats like those found in butter and margarine.

“Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAS) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS) like those found in olive oil may help lower your risk for heart disease by improving certain risk factors. For instance, MUFAS and PUFAS have been found to lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels. MUFAS may also normalize blood clotting and help control insulin levels, which can be especially helpful to those with Type II diabetes.”

What may be even more surprising about olive oil and its myriad positive health benefits is that in its purest form it also contains as many as 30 or more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant compounds. It is apparently that combination of olive oil with a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and beans that helps reduce chronic disease. It is also important to note that the success of the Mediterranean diet in staving off disease is also likely due to its heavy consumption of rich omega-3 fats found in fish and less consumption of animal-based proteins, such as beef and pork. This is one reason so many people use omega-3 fish oil supplements.

According to a paper written for the American Center for Cancer Research by Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN, the compounds in olive oil “increase enzymes that block activation of carcinogens and improve their removal from the body.” Collins continued by explaining that the compounds in olive oil appear to “slow development of cancer cells and increase their self destruction.” She recommends using olive oil in its purest unprocessed forms (extra virgin or virgin) and to store it away from sunlight to help maintain its phytochemical content.