Discover the Marvels of Olive Oil

Discover the Marvels of Olive Oil

I was too much of a penny-pincher to see the benefits of olive oil until recently. Somehow, spending $10 for a skinny bottle of olive oil seemed extravagant when I could spend about half that to get a bottle of generic vegetable oil for cooking. So what’s all the fuss? Turns out, there’s a whole lot to fuss about.

Olive Oil is Rich in Antioxidants

A group of Italian scientists found that olive oil’s miracles don’t just end with the taste buds. Olive oil contains a complex blend of antioxidants that fight free radicals, which contribute to premature aging and disease. You can also benefit from the goodness of the phenol complex, which reduces cholesterol, blocks some cancer-forming chemicals, supports immunity, and has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Read more about the world’s most antioxidant-rich foods

Olive Oil is a Great Skin Moisturizer

The Greeks knew what was good for them, and so did Cleopatra. The world’s first moisturizer was supposedly made by the Egyptian queen, who mixed olive oil, milk, incense and juniper berries to keep her skin smooth. Using a dab of olive oil on damp skin after the shower can get rid of dried or cracked skin.

Olive Oil Offers Sun Relief

Scientists like E. R. Pinkney and D. Harman have found consuming olive oil helped with the elasticity and resistance to sun’s damages on the skin. As well, scientists from the Kobe University of Japan found that applying olive oil to the skin after sun exposure could prevent UVB-induced tumors in hairless mice.

Olive Oil Repairs Split Ends

This is one of my favorite (and one of the easiest) home treatments for hair. When your hair’s feeling a bit frizzy and dull, simply heat up a little bit of olive oil (you want it warm, not hot!). I like to spritz a little bit of lemon juice to offset the heavy scent of olive oil. Massage into the ends of hair and leave on with a hair cap for five to 10 minutes. Shampoo hair and dry. Admire beautiful hair.

Read more about female hair loss causes and treatments

When choosing an olive oil, remember to always go for extra virgin olive oil, not the regular one. Extra virgin olive oil comes most directly from olives, and the lack of processing yields all the good antioxidants that scientists have been raving about.

Images: U.S. Department of Agriculture

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After an eye-opening experience with an environmentally-conscious roommate, Rosel's life took a natural and organic turn. Rosel is a graduate student at McGill University, where she studied literature and culture. She has written about energy efficiency at home, campus environmental movements, as well as local designers and restaurants for Vancouver Magazine, Western Living, Curtain Rising Magazine, and The Queen's Journal. When not writing, she enjoys browsing the farmers' markets for (organic) blood oranges and Israeli mangoes and rearranging her recycling bin.