Olive oil, besides being delicious, provides countless benefits both in and outside the kitchen. Below, we will discuss some of the benefits of olive oil, both as a healthy food choice and as a key ingredient in beauty treatments.
Olive Oil and Our Health
We already know that olive oil has the power to transform a dish, enhancing its smell, taste, texture, even color. It is the perfect complement to almost any cooking technique.
Coastal populations of the Mediterranean have been aware of the benefits of olive oil and its many health-related virtues for centuries. Hippocrates, considered the father of medicine, praised its virtues over 2,000 years ago. But it wasn’t until recently that science has been able to confirm those claims and discover new benefits for our health – in particular, olive oil’s contribution to reducing the risk of diseases closely linked to poor eating habits typical of advanced 21st century societies.
The PREDIMED study, one of the most important studies carried out on a global scale on the relationship between food and health, has confirmed that a Mediterranean diet rich in extra virgin olive oil helps to reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event by up to 30% and reduces the risk of diabetes by a similar percentage. This study has also found that a Mediterranean diet is effective in preventing obesity, and even helps to delay cognitive deterioration linked to old age.
This is just one example of the many studies worldwide that have analyzed the health benefits of olive oil. In recent years, it was discovered to help protect against the development of gestational diabetes in pregnant women, and to be beneficial to those suffering from hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.
Pamper Your Skin with Olive Oil
Being healthy starts with our skin. In fact, olive oil was one of the first products used for body care in the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean. Here are some of the benefits of olive oil for your skin.
Hydrate and Nourish Your Skin with Olive Oil
The first step to caring for your skin is hydration. To do so, you should be drinking lots of liquids and use products that help you protect your skin – this is where olive oil comes into play. You can exfoliate and hydrate your skin with olive oil.
How to Exfoliate with Olive Oil:
In a bowl, mix olive oil with sugar and lemon juice. Stir it well and spread it over your skin, massaging with circular movements. You will immediately notice smoother and softer skin! If you don’t have sugar and lemon, you can use olive oil and salt as a substitute, just be careful not to apply it on any wounds!
This trick works especially great on your hands, you can apply it 1-2 times a week. Pay special attention to your nails and cuticles.
Rinse with warm water and moisturize with moisturizing cream and a few drops of olive oil.
Hydrate Your Skin with Olive Oil:
After exfoliating your skin, the next step is to moisturize it, either by applying olive oil directly or by adding a few drops to your regular cream to give it an extra boost of hydration.
If you are pregnant, apply the emulsion to your belly and hips to prevent stretch marks.
Olive Oil as Makeup Remover:
Cleaning your face before going to bed is important to unclog, balance and oxygenate your skin. This task consists of three steps, and should be done every day. First, remove your makeup, and then clean and moisturize according to the steps above.
Put a few drops of olive oil on a cotton pad and massage the skin on your face and neck using small circular movements.
To remove mascara, you can either wipe your eyelids and eyelashes with a cotton ball moistened with olive oil, or a mix of chamomile tea and a few drops of olive oil.
Olive Oil for Your Hair
Caring for your hair can be complicated, as it is exposed to so much damage from the sun, salt, chlorine, cold… good thing we have olive oil on our side to fight against all these harsh external elements!
Use one of the following masks to discover first-hand the benefits of olive oil for your hair.
Mix 3 parts extra virgin olive oil and 1 part honey in a bowl. Stir until you get a dense paste. Apply it to washed, wet hair and let sit for 20 minutes. Wash with your regular shampoo and rinse.
Mask for Damaged Hair:
Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into your hand. Apply it to the tips and work your way up through your hair to about 2-3 cm from the tips.
Depending on how damaged your hair is, you can leave it on for 45 minutes, two hours or even overnight, covering your hair with a towel or shower cap.
Then, wash your hair with your regular shampoo and rinse well.
If you have curly or frizzy hair, moisten your hands with olive oil and massage your hair. In addition to controlling hair frizz, you will nourish your hair and leave it shiny and healthy.
Split End Repair:
Apply olive oil to split ends and leave it on all night.
Don’t forget about your eyelashes!
Moisten a cotton swab or disc with olive oil and apply it gently starting from the root of the eyelashes. The vitamin E in olive oil will help your eyelashes grow longer and thicker.
Olive Oil for Your Hands
Olive oil can help moisturize your hands. You can apply it directly to the skin or use a cotton ball.
If you prefer, you can add a few drops of olive oil to your regular hand cream.
Olive Oil for Nails:
Olive oil is very good for your nails as it keeps them hydrated, helping keep hangnails at bay.
Strengthen Your Nails:
In a bowl, mix the juice of one orange, one crushed garlic clove and 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Soak your hands in this ointment for 15 minutes and rinse.
Care for Your Cuticles:
Mix the juice of two lemons and half a cup of extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and soak the top half of your fingers for 15 minutes. Remove your hands and let the mixture soak in overnight.
Another option is to fill a small container with a dropper or brush so that you can apply the olive oil directly to your cuticles.
Olive Oil for Your Lips
Natural Exfoliant for Cracked Lips:
Mix brown sugar, honey and olive oil in a bowl and stir well. Apply the mixture to your lips, massaging using circular movements. Rinse with warm water.
Moisturizer for Your Lips:
You can use olive oil to moisturize your lips two different ways:
- Apply olive oil directly to your lips. For best results, exfoliate first.
- Mix olive oil and avocado to form a uniform paste. Apply to your lips using circular movements. Let sit for 20 minutes and rinse with water.