So, is Olive Oil actually good for you? And what else can it be used for?
Good question! Not just a salad dressing (but also that) extra virgin olive oil has a thousand uses. Here are our top 10
#10 The Perfect Dressing
We all know this one. The monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) in extra virgin olive oil have long been heralded for their general health benefits, so this one's a no-brainer. Mix with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and pour over your quinoa and kale salad. Healthy lunch = tick.
#9 Nourish Your Skin
Full of vitamins A and E, olive oil is a great moisturiser. Pour a small amount into your palm and apply to damp skin (after a bath or shower is best) then rub in as you would any other (far more expensive) body oil.
#8 Remove Eye Make-up (even waterproof!)
You may have been spending a fortune on many eye make-up remover but a small pour of olive oil on a damp cotton wool pad does the trick just as well - if not better. Splash your face with warm water then gently rub the cotton pad over the eye and voila! It even removes the most stubborn waterproof mascara.
#7 Mend Dry and Damaged Hair
It's easy to make a supremely good hair mask from this golden beauty gem. You can use straight olive oil, or mix with some avocado for a super-rich conditioning treatment. Mix one tablespoon with half an avocado, mash together really well then smear over damp hair. Wrap with cling wrap (your hair, not your entire head. Safety, people!) then leave for 20-30 minutes and wash out with regular shampoo.
#6 Raise Good Cholesterol (HDL)
Olive oil is rich in anti oxidants that are good for your heart. Studies conducted at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute in Barcelona found that people who at a low fat diet with olive oil showed the greatest reduction in LDL cholesterol compared with others who only ate a low-fat diet.
“Our hypothesis is that all the antioxidant compounds in olive oil bind to the HDL particle and preserve [it] from oxidative stress,” said Head Scientist Monsterratt Fito. “And that maintains the HDL in better quality.”
#5 Help Flatten Your Belly
Yes, you heard that right. According to the Mayo Clinic, the Flat Belly Diet involves eating 1600 calories a day and its secret weapon is olive oil. Well, one of them anyway. The benefit is linked to the monounsaturated fatty acids, which are also found in nuts, avocado and dark chocolate (sign us up!).
#4 Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Is there no end to the benefits of this stuff? A study published in the Central European Journal of Urology claims that eating a Mediterranean diet, high in olive oil could be an attractive dietary approach to prevent erectile dysfunction.
#3 Manage Glycaemic Control in People with Type II Diabetes
The fatty acids and bio compounds in olive oil make it an all-round good food. Research published in Nutrition and Diabetes showed a 16% reduced risk of T2 Diabetes in people with a higher intake of olive oil compared with those who consumed less. It also resulted in a significant reduction of HbA1c (average blood sugar levels over 3 months) and fasting plasma glucose.
#2 Decrease Blood Pressure
Research published in The American Journal of Hypertension shows that it's the polyphenols in olive oil that help reduce blood pressure. How to know if the oil you're choosing is the right kind? Opt for Extra Virgin olive oil where possible. EVOO is the first press and therefore contains the highest level of nutrients. Secondly, (and you'll have to taste it to find out), take a sip and check for the catch at the back of the throat. The more "peppery" it feels, the more polyphenols it will have. One of the best quality brands is Cobram Estate who produce locally.
#1 Improve Cognition
A study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, comprising of 522 patients and conducted over 6.5 years, concluded that a Mediterranean diet containing extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts appeared to improve cognition compared with people who were following a low-fat diet.