Nutritionists have long touted the health benefits of olive oil, particularly extra-virgin olive oil, or EVOO. “Extra virgin” means the olive oil does not contain any chemicals or additives. It’s the highest quality olive oil you can get, and it’s ideal to use in salad dressings or as a bread dipping sauce to add some flavor. EVOO can also be an integral part of your beauty routine. If you plan to cook with heat using olive oil, you can buy a less expensive variety, such as virgin, extra-light, or just regular olive oil—and you’ll still reap its benefits.
Olive oil is a fat, but it’s a healthy one that contains monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs. Mayo Clinic recommends that people substitute MUFAs for saturated or trans fats for heart health. MUFAs can help lower cholesterol, normalize blood clotting, and control blood sugar for those who live with Type 2 diabetes. Olive oil is high in calories, though, so it’s best to use it as a substitution for other fats, rather than alongside them. Like most foods, it’s best in moderation.
Moisturizing Benefits for Skin
For thousands of years, Mediterranean cultures embraced more uses for olive oil than just cooking. Ancient Greeks particularly used olive oil for skin as a moisturizer. Today, there are a few ways you can use olive oil for dry skin in your own beauty routine:
- Get a squeeze bottle that you typically use for food condiments, and fill it with olive oil. Add a dash of your favorite essential oil for scent (but avoid lemongrass, which can dry the skin). Gently massage the oil all over your skin.
- Invest in a moisturizing product that contains olive oil, such as Tom’s of Maine Natural Beauty Bar Daily Moisture. This bar soap contains no artificial ingredients and helps maintain the natural moisture of your skin.
Moisturizing Benefits for Hair
Blow drying, straightening, and coloring your hair can leave it dry and damaged. If your hair is starting to seem stiff or thin, try massaging olive oil into your hair. When saturated, wrap your hair with a hot, damp towel, leave it on for thirty minutes, and then shampoo. You can then put a few drops of olive oil in your hand, rub your hands together, and then run them through your hair to bring out your shiniest locks. Be careful not to use too much, or your hair could look greasy.
The health benefits of olive oil go beyond the cosmetic too. Consider using olive oil to treat insect bites, sunburns, and rashes. Just apply a dab on the irritated area; the olive oil helps alleviate the itching and promotes the healing process. You can also soften your cuticles by soaking your nails in a bowl of olive oil before pushing them back when you manicure your nails.
Do you have a favorite use for olive oil? Let us know in the comments section.
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