If you've watched any of the cooking shows on TV (guilty as charged!), you know that olive oil is at the heart of most healthy recipes. It particularly became a big trend when popular chefs were seen using it. We know olive oil has been used for centuries in the Mediterranean region due to its benefits in cooking and topical application. If you're anything like me, you watch all the shows and cook nothing! The bottle of olive oil on my kitchen counter has more beauty applications than edible ones. If you're wondering what type of olive oil to buy and how to use it for your body, hair and skin... keep reading!
A little wiki-style info for you on olive oil: Scientifically known as Olea Europaea, in India, in Hindi, olive oil is commonly referred to as Jaitun Ka Tel. Derived from the olive fruit, this oil has a whole host of benefits for your body, skin and your hair.
Broadly, there are two types of Olive Oil that can be used for cooking and topical application:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One of the purest and most expensive olive oils in the market, this one can be used for cooking as well as topical application. It is extracted by a cold process method, making it pure and expensive too. Since this oil has been extracted from the cold press method, it has a low burning point, so it's best used for light cooking on a low flame.
Virgin Olive Oil
This is the most popular version of olive oil in the market because it is more suitable for everyday cooking and it is more affordable too. It is not extracted by the cold press method so you are not going to be able to reap the benefits of that, however, since this has a high burning point - this type of olive oil is more beneficial for day to day cooking.
Often referred to as 'liquid gold' in ancient times, the inclusion of this oil in your diet has innumerable health benefits that go way beyond enhancing your skin and hair!
Studies have shown that people who consume olive oil on a daily basis are less prone to breast cancer. The oleuropein, a natural compound found in olive leaf is said to have properties that prevent breast cancer.
Adding olive oil to your diet can help control your blood sugar levels. Olive oil is rich in mono and polysaturated fats that help prevent and control diabetes in the long run.
According to American research studies, extra virgin olive oil improved learning and memory in mice. This supported the theory of helping humans deal with and prevent Alzheimer's disease.
The osteocalcin found in olive oil is essential for healthy bone formation. Studies have shown that people who consumed olive oil on a daily basis had higher levels of osteocalcin in their blood.
Olive oil is a superfood that's rich in all the good healthy fat your body needs. It helps your skin, hair and your body. Research shows that a Mediterranean rich diet consisting of 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil on a daily basis results in weight loss and overall well being.
Olive oil increases the levels of serotonin, the chemical in the brain that affects your mood. The increased secretion of serotonin caused by the olive oil is similar to that given by anti-depressants thus making it one of the healthiest choices in treating your overall well being. While olive oil may not be the only thing that helps, it's definitely worth a shot given the long term benefits.
Olive oil contains (the maximum amount) 75-80% of monounsaturated fat which helps build good cholesterol and HDL in the body. Olive oil contains minimum levels of saturated and polyunsaturated fats, this, in turn, helps control your cholesterol levels. Research shows that those maintaining a Mediterranean rich diet had significantly lower rates of heart disease.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and vitamins E and K, iron, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and antioxidants. The texture of the olive oil helps speed up your bowel movements and ease the food through the colon. If you suffer from extreme constipation, one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil twice a day on an empty stomach will help ease constipation. Make sure you've not eaten anything for at least 4 hours when you take it.
What if I told you that your bottle of extra virgin olive oil will heed more promising results than that luxury skincare product you just spent a significant chunk of your salary buying? Olive oil, is a golden elixir rich in antioxidants, fatty acids and skin soothing vitamins. There's a reason Cleopatra used it!
Olive oil rich in vitamins, including A, D, and K, as well as vitamin E and antioxidants. Studies show that it might help prevent or reverse damage from cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation. It has a high concentration of squalene as compared to the other types of fats and oils. The squalene is what gives olive oil the extra antioxidant boost. It moisturises your skin and fights acne-causing bacteria. The high levels of vitamins present in this magical elixir also boost it's anti ageing and skin healing properties making it absolutely a boon for people suffering from acne, blemishes, dry skin, wrinkles and uneven skin.
Here are a few ways you can use olive oil for skin
Olive oil works wonderfully as a replacement for your body moisturiser. Just take a tablespoon full of olive oil and massage it onto wet skin. It will keep your skin soft, hydrated and glowy for very long. It has a wonderful texture making it non-sticky. You can even take a few drops and massage some onto your face at night. It also helps ease out the appearance of those unsightly stretch marks. So apply some onto your any parts of your skin that have stretch marks.
Take some yoghurt, honey, olive oil in a bowl and make a thick paste. Apply this to your skin once a week as a face pack for healthy, glowing skin.
Any beauty maven will give you this advice, use extra virgin olive oil as a make-up remover. Take a teaspoon on your palms or on a cotton pad and use it to remove make-up. It breaks down even the most stubborn waterproof make-up. If you are using your palms, massage the olive oil on your face for a few minutes and rinse off using a mild cleanser and some warm water. It will deep cleanse your skin of all the impurities while leaving your skin supple.
A few tablespoons of olive oil mixed with some brown sugar and coffee powder makes a wonderfully refreshing body scrub. You can even use this to exfoliate your face and lips.
Generously slather on olive oil on your legs and give your feet a good massage. Wear some socks and go to bed. Your feet will be nourished and supple the next morning. Do this a couple of times and see the dry, cracked heels fade away.
If you shave your hands and legs often, try using olive oil as shaving cream instead! The razor will glide on smoother and your skin will be soft and hydrated after!
If your cuticles are in need of some TLC, take a few drops of olive oil and massage them into your cuticles. It will nourish and repair the cuticle and boost nail growth!
Olive oil is as an intense moisturiser, this makes it perfect as an all-over treatment for extra-dry skin. Application of olive oil to skin is known to help people with severe eczema.
This golden elixir is just as good for babies as it is for us. Use it on your little one's bottom to help ease out the diaper rash.
Olive oil deeply nourishes your hair getting rid of any dryness, flakiness and rough ends. It promotes hair growth and helps your scalp remain healthy. If all you've ever envied was long, lustrous hair; give yourself an olive oil massage once a week and watch your hair grow longer, stronger and shinier!
Olive oil is a great ingredient to have even in a shampoo to ensure your hair is hydrated and healthy. Look for hair shampoos with olive oil in them, check out these options!
Here are a few ways you can use olive oil for hair
Warm up a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and massage your hair and scalp with this. Leave it on for a couple of hours and wash it off. You could even leave it on overnight. This works as a great hair conditioner! 2. As a hair mask
For a quick and easy to wash off hair mask, mix a few tablespoons of olive oil with some aloe vera gel. Whip it nicely until it changes colour and texture. Apply this mixture to your hair and scalp! This is a great DIY homemade hair mask. The aloe vera gel is light in texture making it easier to penetrate through your hair and scalp and deeply nourish it.
A few drops of olive oil massaged into the ends of your damp hair works as a replacement for a hair serum. It will protect your hair from split ends and nourish it with an irresistible shine!
Now that you know how beneficial Olive oil can be for you, go stock up!