By Rebekah Jacobsen

The Mediterranean diet in cultures around the world have traditionally used olive oil as an integral part of a balanced lifestyle. This “liquid gold”
extracted from the nutritious olive has many therapeutic uses and is used internally for its health-promoting properties as well as externally for its beautifying “secrets.”

When selecting olive oil, choosing the highest grade will provide the most antioxidants. Extra-virgin olive oil, which is the first pressing of the oil, contains high levels of anti-inflammatory polyphenols such as hydroxytyrosol (HT) which protects cells from oxidative stress and help reduce inflammation in the body.

Olive oil’s high monounsaturated fat content (up to 80 percent) improves heart health by increasing HDL, the body’s natural-producing “good” cholesterol, and decreasing LDL (“bad” cholesterol). Replacing saturated fats and vegetable oils with olive oil is an excellent alternative, and EVOO can be used on salads in place of other dressings.

In addition to its delicious taste, olive oil’s external uses for hair and skin have been known for centuries. Olive oil is rich in vitamins E, K and essential fatty acids which soothe and hydrate the skin and condition hair. Its regenerative properties are known to promote skin healing, the effects of sun exposure and impart a beautiful olive oil glow.

As a natural skin care product, olive oil has many uses. Including it in a balanced diet can encourage healthier lifestyle habits. Healing begins within, and taking every opportunity to implement beneficial practices can assist the body in its own natural healing abilities.

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A high-quality extra-virgin olive oil will ensure a high oleic acid (omega-9 fatty acid) and monounsaturated fat content. Olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark place in a dark bottle (to protect from light exposure which creates free radicals) to receive the most from its health benefits.

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