Healthy Benefits of Olive Oil

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Recognized for its’ abundant health benefits, olive oil is being chosen by many consumers as a preferred form of fat in diets and is being recommended by nutritionists and health professionals as one of the best alternative oils to traditional fats and oils. Olive oil has great diversity in how it can be used as an ingredient in recipes and as a food-enhancer.

Olive trees originated in Asia, but are more commonly know as an agricultural product in Mediterranean countries. Olive oil comes from the process of pitting, grinding, and pressing of the olive fruit.

In countries where olive is most highly consumed – Italy, Greece, and Spain, the incidences of cardiovascular disease is low and this is attributed the health benefits olive oil provides. One tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories and 14 grams of fat. However, the fat in olive oil is primarily monounsaturated which, when consumed can help reduce blood cholesterol levels leading to improved cardiovascular function.

Other Health Benefits of Olive Oil:

  • Olive oil is beneficial as an antioxidant since it contains high levels of vitamin E.

  • When consumed, olive oil promotes digestion, stimulates metabolism, and lubricates mucous membranes (olive oil contains vegetable mucilage that helps protect the gastrointestinal tract).

  • Olive oil can aid in relieving constipation. Consuming 1 teaspoon of olive oil with lemon juice (preferably on an empty stomach) can promote proper bowel movements.

  • Olive oil for skin therapy. Olive oil can be added to dry skin acting like a moisturizer and can also be applied to nails to increase nail strength and to promote healthy cuticles.

How to Choose Olive Oil:

  • Explore how you can replace butter, margarine, and low quality vegetable oils in your cooking especially in preparing salads, sautéed dishes, and sauces.

  • Purchase olive oil that is labeled as“extra virgin”, which insures that the oil has been cold pressed. Cold pressed olive oil has been produced with freshly harvested olives and has gone through less processing and has not been degraded with heating or chemicals.

  • A good quality olive oil will be golden yellow in color versus lower quality olive oils that are light green in color.

  • Note: olive oil will congeal (form as a solid) in the refrigerator, but remains a liquid at room temperature.

When used in moderation, olive oil is a nutritious fat that promotes a great deal of health benefits. Like wines, olive oils will have differences in flavor depending on the region and producer of the oils. Olive oils can also be infused with herbs, garlic, peppers and other flavorful ingredients to add extra excitement to your dishes.



Eat Your Way to a Healthy Complexion

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It’s been said “you are what you eat,” and far from being a poetic platitude, this timeless trope is literally true! Not only do the micro-nutrients in food, including vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients allow biochemistry to proceed properly, but the building blocks of the proteins, fats and carbohydrates that we ingest, ultimately become our bones, blood, muscles, and all the other tissues and organs that make up our miraculous and marvelous human bodies. This of course includes the body’s largest organ, the skin, and there is no way to get around the fact that eating poor quality foods will show up as poor-quality complexion.

While this seems like an obvious truth, it isn’t something most of us account for when we decide what to eat. And the unfortunate results are pretty much all skin-health conditions from acne and accelerated aging to dryness and dark spots.

Foods that are overly heated and highly processed are deficient in enzymes and nutrients, negatively impacting the skin and acting as the source of pretty much all cutaneous concerns including eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. Even seemingly external dermatological problems like allergic reactions and sun damage can at least partially be the result of poor food choices.

On the other hand, enjoying high-quality foods not only helps slow down aging and prevent full-blown skin health challenges, but can also be the source of healthy, beautiful, glowing skin. Sure, topical skin care is important, but at the end of the day the skin, like any other part of the body, is composed of what we consume. I recommend including foods with phytonutrients, essential fatty acids, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in your daily meal plan.

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