Olive oil is classified into several different grades; the most commonly used grades for culinary purposes are virgin olive oil, pure olive oil, and commercial olive oil. Virgin olive oil is made from the early pressings of the olive, and is mainly used for making salad dressings. Commercial olive oil has been refined to remove the color and odor, and is generally used for frying and cooking. Pure olive oil is a mixture of virgin and refined oils. When the oil is cold-pressed, the flavor will be much stronger than if it had been heated. As well as its culinary uses, olive oil is also used as a natural lubricant. Here are five health and beauty benefits of olive oil:
Olive oil can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. For diabetics, and people living with other types of blood sugar problems, daily intake of olive oil could help to manage their conditions. Additionally, regular consumption of olive oil has been linked to lower triglyceride levels, which can reduce the risk of heart disease in diabetic patients.
Olive oil is an excellent skin moisturizer. Add a capful of olive oil to your bath, or apply it directly to your skin, as an intensive skin softener. For a moisturizing face scrub, mix a little olive oil with a pinch of sugar, and rub gently over your face using circular motions. Rinse with cold water.
Olive oil contains an antioxidant called polyphenol which may reduce high blood pressure, and lower the risk of heart disease. Several studies have suggested that consuming one or two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil every day can reduce the amount of blood pressure medication needed for some patients, and may also reduce high cholesterol levels.
Olive oil can be used as ear drops to remove wax and debris from the ear canal. You will need to buy a small dropper bottle for storing the oil, and applying the drops. Gently heat the oil to body temperature by placing the bottle in a bowl of warm water before you use the drops.
Olive oil can soothe and repair the damage caused by sunburn. Apply the neat oil directly to the affected area, or pour into a warm bath for instant relief. Olive oil can also be used to protect the skin before going out into the sun, because it contains vitamins and antioxidants that protect against UV rays.