Mediterranean Diet and Oil
We have heard the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, and enjoyed the wonderful flavor of a good olive oil. Studies associate olive oil intake with a decreased risk of heart disease, as it supports us with antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene, and unique molecules of hydroxytyrosol (HT), to strengthen cellular walls.
Mayo Clinic published an article on Mediterranean diets being good for heart health and that there was research showing that the traditional Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of heart disease (take a look here). How awesome is that?
Also, a new study shows that women who eat a Mediterranean diet reduce their risk of uterine cancer by 57 percent. Incredible!
A Mediterranean diet consists of foods rich antioxidants, high in fibre, and unsaturated fatty acids – mainly coming from olive oil, a foundational component of the Mediterranean diet.
The benefits of olive oil are endless, and many studies have shown that it may assist in the prevention of numerous health concerns. It is known to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering the levels of LDL – cholesterol and triglycerides while the levels of HDL – cholesterol do not decrease in this process. They may, in fact, may increase the levels of ‘healthy’ cholesterol – which can decrease the risk of heart disease. Also, there is a natural compound found in olive oil (oleocanthal) that acts as ibuprofen would – reducing inflammation. Which can potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer and its reoccurrence.
It is also known to reduce the risk of other types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and is good for brain health and much more. You can read more about all of the many benefits here.
What Kind of Oil Do I Use
Unrefined extra virgin oil is the purest form of olive oil – crushing the the olives and without any additives – is usually taste better than virgin olive oil. Refined olive oil means it was industrially made with the use of heat and chemicals. However, it is still usually healthier than other types of cooking oils. And, keep in mind, bitter is better!
Like many oils, olive oil can be considered as a ‘jack-of-all-trades’, so in addition to adding olive oil to your diet, here are a few other ways you can use it:
1. Clean your skin! Skin oils are popping up everywhere, so why not use something you likely already have in your kitchen. Like dissolves like – which is why, oil dissolves oil and why it makes for such an effective skin cleansing method.
Remember, you’re using the oil to dry out impurities so you may notice minor breakouts at first – stick with it because it really does work! Most people mix castor oil in with the olive oil, which aids in the removal of impurities.
A general rule of thumb is a 2:1 ratio, olive oil to castor oil. Too much castor oil could dry out your skin. Make sure you use hot water to remove the oil off your face after massaging it into your skin. Some olive oil will stay on your face, this is a good thing, as it will also act as a natural moisturizer (unless you have really dry skin.)
2. Remove your makeup
3. Use it to shave with
4. Use it as cuticle oil
5. Mix in with your bath, olive oil does wonders for the skin!
6. Make a conditioning hair mask (it will also remove paint from your hair)
7. While you’re conditioning your hair if you have a dog or cat – why not pamper them, too? Olive oil is great for their fur and skin.
8. Condition wood, buff appliances, laminate surfaces and shine your stainless steel