Olive oil is not just delicious – it is indeed very healthy. It has been recognised as one of the healthiest sources of good fats and can help protect the body against coronary disease and ultimately even increase life expectancy*. The Better Health Channel recommends switching to olive oil as the primary source of dietary fat and points to countries where the Mediterranean Diet is prevalent and instances of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer are low as good evidence to support olive oil’s healthfulness.
Research has confirmed the link between a high consumption of olive oil and a decrease in bad cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. The benefits of olive oil include protecting our cells’ DNA against free radical damage*, anti-inflammatory properties and a positive lowering effect on blood sugar and blood pressure**.
Olive oil is not only a kitchen staple but a trusted traditional remedy for heartburn, constipation, blocked ears and earaches. Taking one tablespoon internally on an empty stomach can also help with digestion.
The different grades of olive oil:
If possible, try to buy an extra virgin or a virgin olive oil: the olives are always cold-pressed and the oil they yield is of a higher quality and has better nutritional value and flavour. The resulting oil should be dark yellow or greenish in colour, which is a sign of quality.
Pure, light and extra light olive oils are extracted and refined with the help of heat and chemicals: their nutritional value is much diminished and a small amount of virgin olive oil even has to be added to restore some flavour at the end of the refining process. Give them a miss!
Olive oil is also an excellent skin moisturiser – Talinga Grove and Botáni olive skin care are testament to this. More on this later! For now, try cooking with olive oil daily or serve it on the side with fresh bread at the dinner table. Even better if you can buy your olive oil from a local grower, as it will be fresher and richer in all the good fats and nutrients.