Olive oil is one of the oldest household products, used since the dawn of civilization (Western or otherwise). It can be used for everything from cleaning to cooking to health and skin care. Olive oil has been used for thousands of years to promote health and well-being. The Greeks used it. The Romans used it. Jesus used it. Chef Gordon Ramsey likely uses it. It was, and is, a staple of nutrition and home DIY problem-solving.
This is one product that you should really invest in. Even if you’re a bargain shopper, it’s a good idea to buy a good volume of quality olive oil—even if you don’t know how you’re going to use it just yet. Why? Because you can use it for everything. It may seem strange that the fatty oils resulting from pressing olives can be so beneficial to health and well-being. It may be more strange to read that this fatty oil can be good for your heart and cholesterol levels, but it’s true. While it is 100 percent fat, it consists of (75 percent or so) monounsaturated fat that has multiple health benefits.
Additional Uses for Olive Oil
- It helps treat diaper rash.
- It can shine pots and pans.
- It smooths hair naturally.
- It can be used to treat leather.
- It can remove paint or hair dye from skin.
- It can be used as a lip balm.
- It can soften nail cuticles.
- It can be used to polish treated wood.
- It can be used in the bath to soften skin.
- It can be used for shaving.
- It can relieve constipation.
What is olive oil?
In the simplest terms, olive oil is released by pressing olives. Very clear. But what is olive oil? And what is the difference between extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil? This refers to the process through which olive oil is made. Extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO, is made by cold-pressing. This process ensures that heat won’t damage the quality, flavor, or nutrition of the oil. EVOO is produced naturally, without chemicals. Virgin olive oil is created the same way as EVOO, though it is of slightly lower quality. Olive oil of lower quality and processed using means that aren’t 100% mechanical, is marketed as olive oil, regular olive oil or pure olive oil. That said, “pure” is a relative term; sometimes it contains a mixture of EVO and has been refined. For straight up enjoyment, such as salad dressing and dipping breads, EVOO is your best choice. For home handyman (or woman) project, just regular or pure varieties.
The Proven Benefits of Olive Oil
Olive oil benefits include cardiovascular health. Olive oil contains phenolics (planty-goodness) that have anti-clotting, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. All of these should benefit heart health. Studies show that after consuming these heart-healthy compounds, people have improved circulation compared to those who ate unhealthy, saturated fats (like the kind in the bacon pan). People who consumed olive oil and its good-for-you-fat are more likely to have lower levels of bad cholesterol and higher levels of good cholesterol. As with all the best things in life, olive oil should be consumed in moderation; there is such thing as too much of a good thing.
Olive oil benefits your skin. Both internally and externally, olive oil provides numerous benefits for your skin. Externally, you can use it in a number of different ways. It moisturizes your skin when massaged in. Added to warm bath water, it can also help you relax while softening your skin. As a foot soak, it’ll help soften callouses and that rough, dry skin on your heels and cuticles. Olive oil can be used as a spot moisturizer for your hands and body. Internally, olive oil provides vitamin E and antioxidants that help make skin look younger.
Olive oil can get rid of head lice. To get rid of head lice using olive oil, slather (completely slather) the unfortunate person’s scalp (especially behind the ears and the nape of the neck). Cover the person’s head in a shower cap (secure with rubber band or clips if necessary) and leave it for 2‒3 hours. Rinse well. This should kill all of the lice, but their eggs (nits) will still need to be manually removed. One fabulous side effect is shiny hair. Keep in mind that this will not treat the lice found on bedding and other personal products. Those will need to be treated separately.
Get rid of earaches with olive oil. Always contact your doctor before using natural remedies. For instance, if your ear drum has been perforated, it will neither treat the pain nor the infection. In fact, it could make the infection worse. In the right situation, applying a small amount of olive oil just inside the ear can provide “lubrication and relief” from ear pain. There is even some evidence that olive oil may have antimicrobial properties, but more research is needed.
Benefits of olive oil include smooth, shiny hair. That beautiful, shining, sleek hair you see in hair commercials is real, but it certainly doesn’t get there without help. Damaged, frizzy, or dry hair can result in many dollars thrust into your hairdresser’s pocket, which may not always work. Olive oil can add moisture to your hair and protect it from drying influences, such as the sun. Simply massage olive oil into hair and scalp, rinse, and shampoo. Using olive oil is both inexpensive and effective. And, as my mom always says about ingesting olive oil, “It’ll make your hair shiny.” That may well be true.
Olive Oil Products
Homemade olive oil salad dressing. It’s super easy, and super healthy, to make your own salad dressing. Unlike many overly processed salad dressings (which are mostly sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats), olive oil can make a creamy, healthy, fresh alternative. There are many free recipes available online, or you can mess around and create one yourself. Be sure to use fresh olive oil that hasn’t been damaged by excessive heat or sunlight.
Olive oil soap. Speaking as a person allergic to nearly everything that’s awesome (cats, rabbits, most beer and wine, and many scented hygiene products), olive oil soap is a blessing. Historically, olive oil has been used as a skin cleanser and moisturizer. Having it in bar form just makes it a little less . . . messy. It can be wonderfully soothing for those who, like me, have certain skin allergies. We recommend Kiss My Face, available in a 3 pack from Amazon.
Olive oil hair conditioner.For people with dry, frizzy, or damaged hair, olive oil hair conditioner is a natural, inexpensive treatment instead of expensive, chemical-infused salon treatments. You can use either straight-up olive oil, or you can buy an olive oil‒based conditioner. Pick your product (make sure olive oil is high on the list of ingredients), follow the directions, and enjoy healthier, shinier hair without a trip to the hairdresser (or her bill).