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Olive Oil Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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Olive Oil

In ancient times, it was believed that olive tree has been a gift from Athena, goddess of peace and wisdom, to humans. Another legend concludes that the first tree appeared on Adam’s tomb. Over the centuries it became a symbol of peace, strength, sacrifice, wisdom, renovation, virginity, and fertility. Today, it is very used as part of a healthy diet, in beauty programs, and with medicinal purposes in all corners of the world. It is versatile and has a distinct taste.

Olive Oil has a high content of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients. It is a rich source of antioxidants, such as phenols and tocopherols. It contains monounsaturated fatty acids, especially oleic acid. Oleic acid is a particular monounsaturated acid that prevails and, depending on type, olive oil contains 55 percent to 85 percent of it. Other important nutrients are polyunsaturated fats, such as alpha-linoleic acid, commonly known as omega-3 and also linoleic acid known as omega-6 fatty acid. There are many vitamins such as A,C,D,E, and K, and minerals contained in this product.

Olive Oil Functions & Benefits

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a superior type of oil that is made avoiding any sort of chemical process. The only means that are being used are mechanical, this oil representing the first grinding of the olive fruit through the cold pressing physical process.

Oleic acid is the main monounsaturated fat from olive oil, known as omega-9. It can also be found in the adipose tissue of humans, animal sources, and other vegetal oils. It has a wide range of benefits for our health. It has been known and used for centuries for gastrointestinal imbalances and skin disorders. More studies have been made over time and additional benefits have been discovered. It can be used to decrease LDL cholesterol and to enhance HDL cholesterol. It may be considered a possible solution in weight loss programs. It may improve neurological transmissions and memory. It offers immune system support and also delays the aging process while also having an antioxidant and detoxifying effect.

The highest content of vitamin E can be found in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and it can reach up to 88 percent. That makes this culinary oil a best remedy to treat and prevent vitamin E deficiency and its symptoms. Among these, we can name: vision problems, abnormal eye movements, loss of muscle mass, muscular weakness, leg cramps, unsteady walking, and gastrointestinal diseases. It also may lead to neurons degeneration and decreased circulation of the blood.  Vitamin E delays the ageing processes and preserves the health of the skin. It acts as a natural diuretic and may prevent cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and cataracts. It helps the wounds to heal faster, reducing the scars.

Antioxidants play an important role in protecting the cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Cigarette smoke and radiation are only a few free radicals that have a great negative impact upon our health. These may lead to cancer, heart disease, immune system imbalances, and decline in brain function. Antioxidants are a powerful weapon in preventing these dangerous medical conditions and other severe health concerns. Frequent exposure to alcohol, medications, poor diet, radiation, pollutants, and toxins may end up causing oxidative stress. This may lead to numerous serious human disorders, especially cancer, and heart diseases.

Vitamin K is good for bones health and may accelerate the healing of the wounds. It may prevent the blood from clotting. If the body doesn’t need vitamin K on the moment, all that is left out of it gets stored in the liver for later use. This vitamin can be taken from a healthy diet and it is not necessary to start the administration of supplements or other medication that contains it. Vitamin K deficiency is extremely rare and can be caused by antibiotics taken for a long period of time or when the absorption cannot be made properly.

Ascorbic acid, known as vitamin C, is the safest fat-soluble vitamin. It is used by the body to form collagen in the muscles, bones, cartilages and blood vessels, improves the iron absorption, and many studies have shown that it may prevent and treat the symptoms of common cold and flu and that it also has a positive influence on the immune system.

All of these nutrients confer olive oil an amazing power. There is a long list of positive effects for this culinary oil.  It may reduce the risk of stroke in the elderly and coronary heart disease in women. It may help fight cancer. prevent heart attacks, lower blood pressure, and make you live longer.


There are very few possible side effects when using olive oil. Besides the fact that in rare cases some people develop an allergy to it, other reactions are extremely rare and not well documented. However, there is an obvious consequence of olive oil excess in the daily diet, namely weight gain. Although this oil is healthy, its high fat content will still accumulate over time if not used properly. A common dietary advice is to use olive oil for no more than 14 percent of your daily calories. Other reactions like diarrhea, muscle cramps, and headaches have been reported when olive oil was used in detoxification, but those seem to not have anything to do with the oil, but with the detoxification process itself. In conclusion, if used in moderation this oil bears no risks. Otherwise, it’s just a source of fat that needs to be dealt with.

Another important aspect to consider is that vitamin K interacts with blood thinning drugs, so you should be extra careful and ask for a professional opinion if you are under treatment with anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications. The levels of vitamin K should be constant from day to day. It is recommended to monitor these levels in order to avoid other complications.


Olive oil is manufactured from olives through a variety of procedures. The best olive oil is obtained exclusively with mechanical means from only olive pulp. Such oil is called extra virgin oil and should always have acidity below one percent. You can find it in any supermarket and in most other stores. It is easy to find and affordable if used with moderation. It may be used externally in creams, lotions, masks for skin, body and face, and also internally with all the above mentioned amazing positive effects. In order to preserve its many benefits, it is recommended to keep it in a dark and cool place.