Olive oil is made from the fruit of olive trees. Olives are crushed to make a paste. The paste is then stirred to release oil droplets. This process is called maceration. It is then spun to pull out the oil and water. Once the water is removed, what is left is olive oil. Olive oil is commonly used in cooking, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps. It is also used in cosmetics, soaps, and pharmaceuticals. Even though olive oil is often associated with Mediterranean countries, it is used throughout the world.
The first recorded olive oil extraction is known from the Hebrew Bible and took place during the Exodus from Egypt, during the 13th century BC. Olive oil was common in ancient Greek and was part of the Roman cuisine. The cosmetic use of olive oil can be traced back to as early as the 7th century BC.
Constituents and nutrition
The composition of olive oil is a mixed triglyceride ester of palmitic acid and oleic acid, as well as other fatty acids (linoleic acid, stearic acid, and a-linolenic acid). It also contains traces of sterols and squalene. The composition is dependent on region, harvest time, altitude, cultivar, and extraction process.
Olive oil contains at least 30 phenolic compounds (a large class of plant secondary metabolites). Elenolic acid, one of the phenolic compounds, is a marker for the maturation of olives. Olive oil contains phenolics such as esters of hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, oleuropein and oleocanthal. Their acidic properties give the extra-virgin olive oil (unprocessed) its aroma and bitter pungent taste.
One tablespoon of olive oil has the following nutritional values.
• Calories - 119
• Fat - 13.50 gram
• Saturated fat - 2 gram
• Vitamin E - 1.9 milligrams
• Vitamin K - 8.1 microgram
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants.
Olive oil is known for its skincare benefits. The health benefits of olive oil are unrivaled. Just look at the Mediterranean countries, the world's longest living cultures, olive oil has always been part of their diet. Following are some of the known health benefits of olive oil.
A diet rich in olive oil reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by almost 50%, compared to a diet low in fat. This is according to a study published in the Scientific Journal Diabetes Care.
Making olive oil as part of their daily diet may prevent the risk of stroke in older people, according to the study published in the online issue of Neurology. A diet rich in olive oil improves the arterial functions.
Olive oil helps to fight osteoporosis, can lower the risk of depression, may prevent skin cancer, reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, and protects from metabolic syndrome.
Olive oil is good for your health. Making it part of your daily diet will help you to reap its numerous health benefits.