Medicinal use of olive oil

January 16, 2011


OLIVE oil, the world’s most commonly eaten mono-unsaturated oil, has been cultivated for centuries around the Mediterranean. For 4,000 years in the Mediterranean cultures, olive oil has been widely used — from money to medicine. Not only does it taste good, but there is a mass of evidence that a diet based on olive oil can promote longer life and may prevent some of the diseases associated with our usual western eating habits.

Today 99 per cent of olive oil is produced in countries that rim the Mediterranean Sea with a trade of multi billion dollar per year. Nature has also bestowed upon Pakistan a large area (from Bhera up to Attock) favourable for olive production but unfortunately neither the farmer nor the government has taken it in consideration seriously.

We can also produce a huge amount of olive oil that will not only bring foreign exchange for the country but also a low price product will be available for local consumption. On closer inspection, this oil has proved to be more than just a source of mono-unsaturated fat.

Olive oil contains a wide variety of valuable antioxidants that are not found in other oils. Hydroxytyrosol is thought to be the main antioxidant compound in olives, and believed to play a significant role in the many health benefits attributed to olive oil. Epidemiological studies suggest that olive oil has a protective effect against certain malignant tumours in the breast, prostate, endometrium and digestive tract. Research has revealed that the “type” rather than the “quantity” of fat seems to have more implications for cancer incidence.

Olive oil can reduce oxidative damage to cells’ genetic material, a process that can initiate cancer development. This could be related to oleic acid, which is the predominant mono-unsaturated fatty acid in olive oil. It has been demonstrated that the addition of olive oil to a diet that is not changed in any other way has a lowering effect on blood pressure.

An olive oil rich diet is not only a good alternative in the treatment of diabetes; it may also help prevent or delay the onset of the disease by preventing insulin resistance and its possible harmful implications by raising HDL cholesterol, lowering triglycerides, and ensuring better blood sugar level control and lower blood pressure. When it comes to heart health, virgin olive oil may have an edge over other vegetable fats.

New research suggests that virgin olive oil may be particularly effective at lowering heart disease risk because of its high level of antioxidant plant compounds.

Virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, showed stronger heart-health effects than the more extensively processed “non-virgin” variety. It helps to ward off harmful blood clots in people with high cholesterol.

Like all other fats and oils, olive oil is high in calories which could suggest that it would contribute to obesity. However, evidence shows that there is less obesity amongst Mediterranean people, who consume the most olive oil in the world. It has been demonstrated that an olive oil rich diet leads to greater and long lasting weight loss than a low fat diet. Olive oil tastes good and it is a stimulus to eat vegetables and pulses.

Olive oil bolsters the immune system against external attacks from microorganisms, bacteria or viruses. The fatty acids in olive oil are good allies in lowering important immunological parameters. Olive oil is also good for the stomach, hepato-bilary system, pancreas, and intestines. It helps with anti-aging, osteoporosis, cognitive function and skin damage. It is also beneficial to consume olive oil during pregnancy and whilst breast feeding.

Constituents: LeavesOleuropein, apegenin, calcium, cinchonine, choline, luteoline,FruitOleuropein, momsaturated fatty acids, beta-carotene, caffeic acid, calcium, verbascocide, uvaol, Minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, Zink, and Copper.

Vitamins: carotenes, riboflavin, and thiamin, oleic acid, Oil66% oleic acid, 12% linoleic acid, 9% palmitic acid, 5% eicosenoic acid and 5% palmitoleic acid. Olive oil may contain up to 1.5% of an acyclic triterpene hydrocarbon, carotenoids, chlorophyll, squaleneGumBenzoic acid and olivile.