What Are the Health Benefits of Olive Oil?

When it comes to nutrition and trying to figure out which foods we need to eat more of, our perception tends to skew toward obvious solutions like fruits, vegetables, and healthier grains. But there are other ways of eating healthy, like watching what we put into our food. This includes less processed condiments like olive oil.

Historically, olive oil has been a popular food additive and folk remedy—and not just in Italy. It contains a healthy type of fat known as monounsaturated fatty acid. As opposed to saturated and trans fats, this brand of fat helps lower cholesterol, blood clotting, and the risk of heart disease. In addition, olive oil has been proven to be effective as regulating insulin and blood sugar, which is good news for anyone who has Type II diabetes.

Consider these ways that you can use olive oil more often in your daily life.

Food Supplement: Obviously, olive oil is a common ingredient in Italian cuisine, but it's good with other foods, too. Extra virgin olive oil is a very common salad dressing and serves as an excellent dip for bread, olives, and other side dishes. It also goes well in a meal served with red wine. To get the full flavor and nutrition, it's best to enjoy olive oil at a low temperature or with colder foods.

Skin Care: Olive oil has been used as a moisturizer and skin cleaner ever since the days of Ancient Egypt and Greece. It's much safer to use on the skin in comparison to other types like coconut or sunflower oil. However, be careful when using olive oil to massage the skin of young children and infants, as this could do more damage than good. Try it for relieving muscle fatigue and irritated skin.

Machine Oil: As a vegetable oil, olive oil isn't normally recommended as a substitute for motor oil or any other high-functioning lubricant. The danger is that olive oil could either get stuck in the machine assembly or turn rancid after a while. It's best to use olive oil when no other lubricant is available, as it can reduce enough friction to keep your mechanics running until you can find a better solution. As recommended earlier, olive oil works best in moderation.

Image by Smabs Sputzer on Flickr

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