Drinking Olive Oil - Healthy or Not?

by Sam

The first time I heard about the whole 'drinking olive oil' concept, I thought: OK, big detail, isn't that the same as cooking with and eating olive oil? But the idea IS different

The Oldest Woman in the World - Thanks to Olive Oil?

Drinking olive oil means not the same as eating it. Take Mariam Amash for example (see this article on MSNBC). This Arab woman from Israel not only claims to be 120 years old, she also attributes it – and her good health – to the fact that she drinks a glass of olive oil each day. She also still goes for a walk each day and loves to receive guests and visitors in her house. Now as the Arabic cuisine in Palestine / Israel is already rich in olive oil, drinking an additional glass per day (I couldn't find any information on how big the glass is) means ingesting a lot of the good, green gold! But you must also consider that this woman worked a lot during her life, she has 10 children to start with. I am not sure that drinking a glass of olive oil a day wouldn't be calories overkill in my case ;-) But what are actually the health benefits of olive oil? What is all the fuzz about the Mediterranean diet? First lets clear what the Mediterranean diet is actually.

A selection of Olive Oils Available on Amazon

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Olive Oil in the Mediterranean Diet

Some years ago, scientist compared the rate of heart attacks and coronary diseases in different countries and found out that those countries that followed a varied, rich in seafood, vegetables, fruits and olive oil, diet suffered less coronary problems than people that ate a lot of meat and used predominantly animal fats in cooking. Not astonishingly countries in the North of Europe, such as England and Scotland had far worse results than countries around the mediterranean sea. Hence the name ' Mediterranean Diet'. One thing to remember here is that olive oil only is a part of this healthy diet, an important one, but only a part. Now, I have lived in Spain myself for many years, but I have rarely seen people drinking any large amount of olive oil. Another thing to remember is that we eat all food either raw or heated. In the case of olive oil you could say that 'drinking olive oil' could also mean to eat it 'raw' i.e. unheated as compared with cooking with it = heating it. I have a good friend, he is from Andalusia, who has always the same for breakfast, a small bowl of olive oil in which mountain herbs have been infused and fresh bread to dip in it. He is not drinking it, but he is surely consuming a small glass of unheated olive oil each morning. And yes, he is extremely healthy ;-)

Wiki Olive Oil

Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive, a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. The oil is produced by grinding whole olives and extracting the oil by mechanical or chemical means. It is commonly used in cooking, ...

So, Where do People Drink Olve Oil?

The habit of drinking olive oil has been reported from so different countries like France, Israel / Palestine and the Greek island of Crete amongst others. Whilst olive oil is healthier than other, animal-based oils and fats, it is still a fat with a staggering 9 calories / gram. Before you now decide to drink an additional glass of it each day, you should better add also some exercise to the plan, if not you will gain weight very fast. If gaining weight is your goal, then drinking olive oil is surely a healthy way to achieve this.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Other health benefits may include lower risk of coronary disease (as mentioned above) and even a lower risk of suffering from certain types of cancer, especially interesting are reports from Greece that state that women on the island of Crete (a major olive oil producer) are having a significantly lower risk of suffering from breast cancer during their lifetime. Olive oil is also reported to lower blood cholesterol without lowering the 'good' HDL cholesterol at the same time. Related to this findings are the claims that regular intake of olive oil can lower the blood pressure and helps to regulate blood sugar levels.

More 'fuzzy' are claims that declare olive oil to contain so-called antioxidants. Antioxidants are said to protect and repair cells from harm, but there is precious little scientific research available how and if that works. Below a few other things that olive oil can help with and / or even cure:

Constipation A teaspoon or two in the morning, before you eat or drink anything else helps to get things going in a natural manner.

Skin Olive oil is a great skin cleaner and excellent to lift make-up in a gentle manner from your face. It also helps to achieve a nice, even tan when used as an after sun treatment.

Vitamin Absorption Many vitamins, like E, D and K, are called 'fat soluble' vitamins, which means also that our body can only absorb them if a fat or oil component is present. Adding a teaspoon of olive oil to your freshly pressed carrot juice makes hence an awful lot of sense.

Gall Stones Some people claim that a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice helps to dissolve and to expel gall bladder stones. Might be, might not be. Better ask your GP or health care professional first.

Oil Pulling Last but not least, olive oil is also used in a natural detox method, called oil pulling. Hereby you swirl a small amount of oil around your mouth and through your teeth first thing in the morning without swallowing it and until the oil is thin, white and foamy. Then you spit it out and clean your mouth first with water and then you brush your teeth and tongue normally. That is said to help to clean your teeth thoroughly and to detox your whole body.

What is the Best Olive Oil?

No article about olive oil would be complete without explaining a bit about the different quality levels of it. In short, the best olive oil would be organic and extra virgin. Extra virgin means it has be cold pressed, not suffered from heating nor have any chemicals been applied to increase the oil extraction. As for the taste, the only thing you can do is to try out a few varieties and see which one you like best. Perhaps they offer an olive oil tasting event where you life? That is a great way not only to find out which variety you like best but also to learn a lot about the green gold as it is also called.

Summary

I hope you have enjoyed this article about the health benefits of olive oil drinking! Feel free to leave me a comment and / or to thumb it up and / or to share it with your friends.

More great health related articles

... had to say that, I wrote them myself ;-)
Does olive oil make your hair grow faster? Does it make your hair healthier? What are the best ways of using olive oil in your hair care? Find out here!
How much water should I drink per day? How much is enough and is there something like drinking too much water? This article aims to answer all these questions - and more.
Updated: 06/08/2012, Sam
 
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Sam on 08/31/2012

@2uesday
I guess the method of taking olive oil doesn't matter so much, as long as you add 'unheated' olive oil to your diet, like you do with salads and bread, you should be fine. I just found it interesting that a >100 years old woman claims that drinking olive oil is part of her 'secret', SY

2uesday on 08/30/2012

We use olive oil to cook with - minimum amount and also with salads. I can eat it with bread but have never tried drinking it. Olive oil is a different type of fat/oil to butter and margarine and is said to be better in the diet that is why it is the one we use. Not sure I could drink it - unless I really had to.

Sam on 08/29/2012

Pan con Tomate is delicious, isn't it? Just toast a slice of bread, rub it with a garlic clove, then with half a tomato and sprinkle with olive oil - I feel hungry now ;-)

Mira on 08/29/2012

Your article reminded me of one breakfast in Andalusia, in a traditional guest house / inn, where we ate bread with olive oil and tasty tomatoes -- I savored each moment of that breakfast :-)

Sam on 06/09/2012

;-) If you increase your olive oil intake it is surely a good idea also to increase your exercise ;-)

dustytoes on 06/09/2012

I eat olive oil on salad an occasionally dunk bread in it, but I think I will use it more often - and then go for a walk!

Sam on 02/23/2012

Yes Katiem2, olive oil has many benefits, both used internally and internally!

katiem2 on 02/23/2012

I love olive oil, the taste is very pleasing to me. I cook with it use it on salads and the like, olive oil is such a great addition to many foods. Its amazing the health properties it holds.

Sam on 02/07/2012

Slovenia? Lovely place! We passed there through on our journey from Prague to Dugi Otok ;-) And yes, I am always interested to learn more, why don't you write and publish an article about it here on Wizzley?

grandi on 02/07/2012

No, Sam, I am not from Spain. I am from a little country eastern from Italy and southern from Austria. Look at the map and I will tell you all about extra extra virgin hard pressed olive oil, if interested :)


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