Homer called olive oil “the liquid gold”. It was medicine, magical substance, and endless source of fascination and astonishment; like wine, there are two types of olive oil too. Each type is influenced by soil, climate, variety, age, methods of manufacture. The origin of the olive crop is lost in the mists of time. One hypothesis says that the olive tree was born in prehistoric times in South Asia, where it was extended to Greece and Australia. Other theories indicate Mediterranean Basin as the origin of the olive tree. Another theory is that it originated in Ethiopia. Archaeological findings indicate that there were wild olive trees in Crete (Greece) long before the birth of civilization. From Crete, they spread to Egypt (2000 BC) and Palestine (1800 BC). In the sixth century BC, they appear in the Mediterranean, arriving in Tripoli, Tunis, and Sicily.
In Spain, olive cultivation was introduced during the maritime domination of the Phoenicians (1050 BC). After the discovery of America, the olive tree has crossed the ocean, and in 1580 was grown in Mexico, Peru, California, Chile, and Argentina. Anyway, the largest olive oil production comes from the Mediterranean.
The best and finest olive oil is obtained from unripe olives. Olive oil is a pale and yellow liquid with a greenish tint, slightly pungent and fragrant acid reaction. The shelf life of olive oil is limited to about 3 years. It is kept at + 8 ° C.
Things you need to know when buying olive oil
- Choose the right bottle
When you look for an olive oil, avoid brands that are sold in light colored bottles. Instead, choose the darker ones, that protect the oil and keeps it fresh longer.
- Check the details on the packaging
Most olive oils have a date printed on the bottle, you should check it for two reasons: first, to see the year production – make sure to be produced in the current year or the year before (as closer to the date of manufacture, as fresh and good the oil is).
- How do you know it is a top quality olive oil?
Read the label carefully, and if you find the inscription “Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)” or “Protected Geographical Indication (PGI in Italian), is a good sign.
- Do not buy it in large quantities because it is perishable.
Types of olive oil
- Pure olive oil is the oil obtained by refining and chemical filtration resulting in lower quality oil.
- Virgin olive oil is produced without the addition of chemical food additives and refined oil has the composition. This oil has an acidity of less than 2%, resulting in a pleasant taste.
- Extra virgin olive oil is the oil derived from the first pressing of the olives, being high-quality oil, with good flavor and good acidity. It is very aromatic oil, less processed than virgin one.
- Cold pressed olive oil is oil obtained from the second pressing when using lukewarm water and steam in order to extract all the oil, thus the heat during pressing absorbs the olives flavor.
- It is the healthiest existent source of fatty acids.
- It makes arteries more elastic – 2 tablespoons per day make you more resistant to strokes and heart attack.
- Reduces bad cholesterol – contains polyphenols, which helps keep cholesterol at optimum levels.
- Quench your hunger – reduce sugar cravings, helps you fill full faster and therefore eat less.
- Improves digestion – it is a successful aid for the digestion
- Protects liver
- Protects the heart and the red blood cells – a specific polyphenol olive oil is particularly effective in protecting red blood cells from oxidation.
- Helps fight against breast cancer – contain phytochemicals that kill cancer cells and genes susceptible to cancer.
- It helps to combat degenerative diseases.
- Reduces the risk of stroke in the elderly – according to a study of 2011, elderly people whose diet was rich in olive oil, are far less likely to have a stroke than others.
- Prevents heart attack in men – according to a study, men who consumed min. 50 ml. of olive oil / day had a decrease in the rate of occurrence of a heart attack by 82%, compared to men who didn’t consume olive oil.
- Lowers blood pressure – by reducing the amount of nitric acid in the body.
- Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease in women – according to a study made in Italy, women who daily consumed olive oil, fruit, and raw vegetables had a decreased rate of developing coronary heart disease than another.
- Improves memory – can prevent and even reverse memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease specific.
- It prevents depression – because of monounsaturated fatty acids it contains.
- Maintains health when getting old – Mediterranean diet is known for its anti-aging, due mainly to olive oil and fish, fruits, vegetables and red wine.
- Prevents skin aging – antioxidants, headed by vitamin E, keep skin young and healthy.
- Prevents – although it is rich in calories, contains healthy fats that fight fat deposits in the body.
- Perfect if not refined – the healthiest olive oil is extra virgin that means the unrefined. It is obtained by cold pressing olives without being subject to any other harsh processes.
- Perfect for salads – Sprinkle salad with equal parts oil and balsamic vinegar / apple / wine.
- Perfect for sauces – combine it with herbs, spices, and garlic or citrus juices to create tasty and healthy sauces.
- Replaces butter successfully – can be used in most recipes (even pastries), but not fry.
- Replace supplements – consume 2 tablespoons / day to ensure your RDA of vitamin E.
- Beautify hair – strengthens hair and makes it more flexible.
- Prevents dry scalp – moisturizes dry scalp.
Beauty (external benefits)
- Hydrates the skin and maintains its elasticity – mix it with water and use it as a body cream, face, hands.
- Heals and alleviates acne – although it seems strange, olive oil mixed with rock salt is an effective scrub that cleanses the skin, controls acne and removes blackheads.
- It doesn’t clog pores and doesn’t favor the pimples – it penetrates the skin, leaving skin soft and smooth, without making the skin oily.
- Cleanse sensitive skin – the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans had no soap but have not missed because of olive oil. They were massaging their skin with oil, then clearing dead skin cells and dirt. In our era, many soap recipes contain olive oil.
- It is a cheaper scrub with the same results as expensive spa products. Pour olive oil with a teaspoon of salt or sugar and massage it softly. To exfoliate feet, combine 2 equal parts of olive oil and honey, a little sugar and a dash of lemon juice and rub the soles of the feet very energetic after they were kept in warm water 15 minutes.
- Cleanse paint / sap / resin on the skin
- Best natural lubricant – you can use it simple, as massage oil, or as carrier oil for essential oils.
- Reduces the appearance of stretch marks – combine equal parts cocoa butter and olive oil and daily massage your stretch marks.
- Reduce cellulite – mix it with coffee grounds and massage the affected areas.
- Perfect shaving – use it instead of soap or shaving cream for a comfortable shave.
- Natural Cleanser – apply olive oil on a cotton ball and gently wipe the makeup off his face.
- Auto-natural bronzer – mix it with coffee grounds and apply the mixture all over the body or added to the bath.
- Natural Mascara – uses it in place of mascara to get gorgeous eyelashes.
- Moisturizes the cuticles – apply a cotton swab to moisturize the cuticles.
- Soothes irritation on baby’s skin
- Protects your hands from dirt – anoint your hands before gardening to prevent the accumulation of dirt and make cleaning easier.
Lips and mouth
- Keeps your lips soft and hydrated – Prepare your own lip balm by combining olive oil with beeswax in equal parts. Put it in a glass jar and anoint yourself with your fingertip.
- Protect your vocal cords – it is known that many singers do gargle with olive oil before concerts.
- Hair conditioner – combine it with coffee grounds and rub well before using hair shampoo. It also can be combined with your regular hair conditioner to enhance its effects.
- Prevents hair damage
- Strengthens damaged hair – apply olive oil to your hair and scalp, then cover with plastic wrap, then heat with the hair dryer. After 30 min., take off the foil and wash the hair with shampoo as usual.
- Beautify black hair – combine olive oil with hair care products.
- Untangles your hair – anoint your hair with a little oil and then comb it.
- Prevents hair bleaching – using it regularly, your hair color will gradually close.
- Kills lice – Massage the scalp with olive oil, wait at least 30 minutes and rinse. Repeat treatment every 10 days, at least 3 times.
Other external uses
- Polishes the wooden furniture and household surfaces – apply it on a soft cloth and wipe furniture, taps, laminate surfaces, stainless steel appliances.
- Makes your shoes shine.
- Helps to remove stickers.
- Helps to remove chewing gum from leather or non-porous surfaces.
- Helps opening blocked zippers.
Mix olive oil with a paste made of a ripe avocado and apply it on the face for 15 min., then rinse.
Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey, and one egg yolk, and apply the mixture on your face for 15 min., then rinse.
Nutritional value / 100g of olive oil
Energy – 885 kcal
Fats – 100 g: saturated 14 g , monounsaturated 73 g, polyunsaturated 11 g, omega-3 <1.5 g, omega-6 3.5 – 21 g
Vitamin E – 14 mg (93% of the recommended daily dose for adults)
Vitamin K – 62 g (59% of the recommended daily dose for adults)
Olive oil and lemon
For any type of skin – hydrates and brightens skin
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3 drops of fresh lemon juice, ½ cup of cooled cooked oatmeal
Mix well olive oil with lemon juice and oatmeal until it becomes a compact paste. Apply the mask on your face and neck and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and then apply a moisturizer.
Olive oil and skim milk
For: Normal skin – softens and moisturizes skin
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil, a bunch of parsley
Put the parsley in a blender and make it a paste. Mix it with buttermilk and olive oil until it becomes a paste. Leave the mask on for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Olive oil and cucumber
For: Normal skin – cleanse the skin effectively
Ingredients: 1 cucumber, sour milk, ½ tablespoon olive oil
Squeeze the juice of a cucumber, after you have grated it. Then add the tablespoon of sour milk and olive oil and mix well. Apply the mask on your face and neck and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Rinse with cold water and then apply a moisturizer.
Olive oil and banana
For: sensitive skin – cleans and moisturizes
Ingredients: ¼ of ripe banana, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon grated cucumber juice
Mix all ingredients and leave the mask on for 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water and apply a cream suitable for your skin.
Olive oil and oatmeal
For: oily skin – moisturizes and cleanse
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of oatmeal, 1 teaspoon olive oil and one of sour milk, ¼ salt
Mix all ingredients, add salt and mix well again. Apply mask on the face and neck and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Olive oil and tomato juice
For: oily skin- removes excess sebum
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of fresh tomato juice, ½ teaspoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of starch
Mix ingredients slowly until they become a compact paste. Apply mask on face and neck and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Olive oil and onion
For: dry skin – lightens and moisturizes
Ingredients: a small onion, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and one of honey
Bake the onion until it becomes soft. Pass it and mix it with the remaining ingredients. Apply mask on face and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Olive oil and white beans
For: dry skin – moisturizes and cleanses
Ingredients: 5-6 white beans, a teaspoon of olive oil, and one of lemon juice
Pass the cooked beans and mix with the remaining ingredients. Apply the mask on your face and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Olive oil and dill
For any type of skin – cleans and softens
Ingredients: 1 bunch of dill, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, oatmeal
Put all ingredients in the blender and mix them until they become a compact paste. Apply the mask on your face and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Ingredients: 1 egg white, ¼ lemon, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, oatmeal
Squeeze the lemon, add the egg white and add olive oil. Put everything in a blender and add oatmeal. Apply the mask on your face and neck and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.