Olive Oil – A Great Healer

Not that long ago olive oil was thought of as a speciality cooking oil, and only used on Mediterranean type recipes and for special occasions. Now, however, I would recommend it to all my patients because of all the wonderful health benefits it gives, especially cold pressed extra virgin olive oil as it contains most nutrients. It is best used poured over food after the cooking rather than frying with it because at very high temperatures it can go a little rancid. Rapeseed oil, coconut oil or avocado oil are better for frying.

Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fatty acids that will help to raise HDL, the good cholesterol, and lower LDL, the bad cholesterol. It is one of the basic ingredients of a Mediterranean diet, and those people who eat such a diet have shown to have much lower than average levels of heart disease and cancer.

Olive oil is a strong antioxidant that helps to scavenge and wipe out those free radicals that can lead to cancer. In fact it has been shown to protect the cells of the colon, prostate and the uterus from cancerous changes. Recent research has also shown that olive oil helps to normalise blood sugar levels which benefits diabetics.

Other than adding it to your food, what other uses are there for olive oil?

  • Weight control – olive oil has been shown to normalise blood sugar levels by lowering insulin levels. Taking between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon before eating a carbohydrate meal slows down the rise of blood sugar afterwards.
  • Stomach upsets – for a long time it has been used in Mediterranean countries for stomach upsets. 1 tablespoon of olive oil on an empty stomach stimulates digestion.
  • Constipation – another favourite use of olive oil is helping with constipation. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into hot water and drink.
  • Ear problems – if you have a build up of wax or have water in your ear an old folk remedy which works really well is, with an eye dropper, to drop 1-2 drops of oil down into the ear canal. Lie for a few minutes on your opposite side and then turn over and allow the oil to run out of your ear. This works to dry up any water that’s there and liquefy ear wax so that it is easier to remove. Remember never put Q-tips or any other instruments down into your ear canal and do not put oil down if you have a punctured ear drum, or have blood coming from your ear.
  • Skin care – olive oil, with its antioxidant (chlorophyll, carotenoids, Vitamin E) properties is very good for skin. It can neutralise skin damaging free radicals and help prevent skin cancer. You can get olive oil soaps which cleanse without stripping the skin’s natural oils. Olive oil contains linoleic acid which actually prevents water from evaporating, thereby keeping a barrier layer of moisture on the skin. Putting a few caps in a warm bath, helps lubricate the skin and using a few drops of it as a facial moisturiser helps keep your face wrinkle free and soft. Men too can apply olive oil to their face before they razor shave to get a close, smooth shave that leaves their face soft.
  • Hair – olive oil can be used as a hair conditioner. Rub a few drops into the ends of your hair before you shampoo it, leave it for about 20 minutes, and then wash it. Hair is left tangle-free and shining. It is also great for babies’ scalps if they have cradle-cap, just a few drops rubbed into the scalp can make a huge difference.
  • Fingernails – keep your nails, and the skin around, them looking great by soaking your fingertips in an olive oil and lemon juice mixture. 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

The more advanced our technologies and the more complicated our world becomes, it’s comforting to know that there are age-old natural substances that we can rely on to keep us healthy and aid us in our simple activities of daily living. We don’t always have to turn to chemically based, often toxic, cleaning agents or drugs when we can turn to a simple, wonder from Mother Nature, like olive oil.

I’m sure that you’ll find even more uses for this incredibly valuable oil!

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