Olive oil is one of the most precious oils, which is distinguished for its high nutritional value. It contains many valuable ingredients, which are significant to the human health, such as polyphenols and tocopherols, Vitamin Ε and provitamin Α, which have anti-oxidant effects and help fighting against many diseases.
Olive oil contains a set of ingredients which are very beneficial to most of the functions of the human organism. Its phenolic substances have displayed anti-inflammatory and chemical-protective properties.
1. Effects of olive oil on cardiovascular diseases
When it does not exceed certain levels, cholesterol (or cholesterin) is vital for the structure of the cell's walls. Nevertheless, the cholesterol that is composed in the liver cannot move within the organism on its own. Such role is played by the lipoproteins. The two main types of these are LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). LDL is a lipoprotein that transfers cholesterol to the cells. But the routes to the cells are usually very narrow for LDL. Hence, LDL particles get stuck and overtime fully block the arteries. The higher the HDL levels, the easier it is for the routes to open and for the organism to get rid of the unwanted cholesterol. The organism needs a good HDL/ LDL ratio. The consumption of olive oil increases the composition and the concentration of HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol), whereas at the same time it makes LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) less able to cause atheromatic damage, by both preventing its oxidization and altering the size of its molecules. Olive oil constitutes one of the most significant factors, particularly with regard to the arteriosclerosis of the peripheral vessels. Consequently, olive oil controls the level of LDL, whereas it increases the level of HDL, which results in the fact that it influences the frequency of cardiac incidents. The protection of the monounsaturated fatty acids against the risk of cardiovascular diseases was licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration (http://www.fda.gov/-dms/qhchoice/html) for the first time in 2004.2. Olive Oil, Digestive & Gastrointestinal System
Extra virgin olive oil is the most easily digestible edible fat and helps us digest vitamins Α, D and Κ, i.e. the absorption of the nutrients and particularly the vitamins and the metallic salts, whereas it also protects against gastritis and ulcers. It is a cholagogue and activates the secretion of the hormones of the pancreas and the gall bladder. In other words, it reduces the chances of cystoliths (formation of stones in the gall bladder). Olive oil is not only easy to be digested, but it also helps in the digestion of other fatty substances, because it helps the secretions of the digestive system and stimulates the pancreatic enzyme lipace. Olive oil restructures the form and the function of liver cells, by replacing other lipids in them. Furthermore, as far as the intestine is concerned, olive oil increases the absorption of calcium and, as such, it can reduce osteoporosis. Taking two tablespoons in the morning with an empty stomach seems to have a positive influence on chronic constipation, which was the reason why ancient Greeks used to consume 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil every morning.3. Olive Oil & Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is a disease that is widely found throughout the world, which is owed to the fact that the organism cannot generate or use insulin, which results in the dysfunction of the metabolism of carbohydrates, which also includes the metabolism of lipids and proteins. Sirtori (1986) claims that when olive oil is consumed as the only source of fat, and particularly by people with diabetes, then this has beneficial effects on the slow discharge of the stomach's content to the duodenum. In this way, it brings on better control of glucose in the blood.4. What are antioxidants and oxidative stress?
Oxidation is a process that occurs not only when oil is being produced, but also inside our own bodies. Reactions occur continually inside the body, giving rise to the formation of free radicals (peroxidants). As a rule, free radicals do not cause severe damage thanks to the protection provided by antioxidants, which help to keep a balance up to a point. If the balance is spoiled, however, "oxidative stress" occurs, leading to deterioration of normal cell functions and even cell death.
Oxidation is a complex, fundamental phenomenon in the process of cell ageing. Lipid or fat peroxidation tends to be proportional to the number of double bonds in a compound, explaining why oleic acid shows little susceptibility to oxidation.
Cell membranes contain a large amount of fat and cholesterol and their composition depends on diet. When the diet contains a lot of olive oil, the cells are more resistant to oxidation, they do not deteriorate as much and ageing is slower.
Approximately 1.5% of olive oil is made up of the unsaponifiable fraction, which contains antioxidants. Virgin olive oil contains the largest quantities of these substances and other minor components.
TIPS: Tips that are small, yet beneficial to you health and cooking…
How do I keep my olive oil fresh?
Keep your oil away from sunlight, heat and air. Store the metal container or the dark glass bottle inside a cabinet in your kitchen. The average temperature for storing olive oil should be between 5° C (41° F) up to a maximum of 20° C (68° F). Avoid using plastic storage materials, where many chemical reactions may occur between the plastic storage material and the olive oil. Besides, "gold" isn't stored in plastic!!! Moreover, olive oil is not refrigerated.How do I properly use my olive oil in the kitchen?
How do we make aromatic olive oil?
Choose aromatic herbs (rosemary, dill, spearmint, basil, estragon), fresh or dried spices, garlic, chili peppers and lemon, citrus and orange zests of your choice. The aforementioned materials can be used on their own or be combined.
We put 2 or 3 sticks of the specific aromatic herb of our choice inside a glass bottle and we add olive oil until the entire aromatic herb is covered and until the bottle is full. It can be used after two-three weeks. We can leave the aromatic herbs in the bottle. When we consume some olive oil and the aromatic herbs are exposed, it is advisable to remove the herbs, so as for the olive oil not to be spoiled.
An excellent combination is aromatic olive oil with oregano and lemon zest.
Aromatic olive oil is a wonderful marinade, which can add aroma to salads, rice, boiled vegetables, potatoes, pasta, meat and fish, or it can also become the main ingredient in another vinaigrette of yours.
Tips – In a near empty mustard jar, add your favorite herbs, some vinegar and oil. Close it, shake it and you have a wonderful vinaigrette in no time!!!!!TASTY RECIPES WITH OLIVE OIL:
Olive oil can be widely used by giving taste and health not only to the traditional Greek diet, but also to any other international cuisine. Olive oil plays the most important role in all recipes, from a simple appetizer to a sweet.
Half a kilo strained yogurt
2 big cucumbers
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 tablespoon spearmint or dill (optionally)
We peel the cucumbers, fine chop them and let them stay to strain from their juices. We mash garlic together with the salt. We use a deep pan and we mix the cucumber, the garlic, the olive oil and the vinegar in turns and, lastly, we add the yogurt. It is preserved in the refrigerator.Sauce with garlic and nuts
1 teacup nuts
2 garlic cloves
1 onion (optionally)
2 tablespoons finely-chopped parsley or basil
Half teacup olive oil
Blend all the ingredients together in the food processor for 1-2 minutes. It is a perfect match for pasta.Sweet cheese pies
1.5 cup water
Half teaspoon salt
3 table spoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice or raki
Flour (approximately half a kilo)
250 g sour mizithra or feta and 250 g sweet mizithra
or 500 g sweet mizithra
1 teacup sugar or grape molasses or honey
1 teaspoon finely-chopped spearmint (optionally)
1 teaspoon powder cinnamon
We prepare the pastry dough with the aforementioned ingredients, which must be pretty thick. We cover it and we let it rest, better in the fridge. We prepare the filling. We roll a medium pastry, we cut in circles of a size of a coffee saucer and we put one spoonful of filling. We roll each circle in order to make a semicircle and we press on the edges to seal it. We fry in plentiful hot olive oil. We serve with honey or with sprinkled sugar powder and cinnamon or even plain.Greek village salad with olives
2 firm tomatoes
1 cups pigweed (verdolaga)
1 bunch of parsley
1 teaspoon caper
5 – 6 black olives
Half a teaspoon salt
100 g feta
1 teaspoon oregano
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
We rinse the tomatoes, the cucumber, the parsley, the pepper and the pigweed. We chop them all together and put them in a salad bowl. We add the caper, the ring-cut onion and the olives. We add salt, oregano, oil, vinegar and we mix. Lastly, we add the feta cheese cut in pieces.Mussels with rice
1 kg mussels
Half a kilo carolina rice
Half cup olive oil
2 medium onions finely-chopped
1 wineglass white wine
2 medium grated tomatoes
We prepare the mussels: We rinse the mussels' shells, we remove the mustaches and we boil them for approximately 5 minutes until they open. Then we take out the flesh. We pour the oil and the onions in a pan and let them get rosy. Then we add the mussels and after some time the rice and we turn it 2 -3 times. We add the wine, the tomatoes, salt, pepper and approximately 8 glasses of water and let the water boil away.
1 kg beef
1 finely-chopped onion
Half a cup olive oil
3 coarse-cut garlic cloves
1 wineglass white wine
1 kg ripe grated tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick, 5-6 cloves
2-3 laurel leaves
Half a kilo spaghetti No 5
1 cup grated cheese
We bake the onion and the olive oil in a pan for a while and then we add the meat, cut in medium pieces, after putting one piece of garlic in each piece of meat. We braise at low temperature and whisk regularly. We finish with the wine and then we add the tomato, the cinnamon, the cloves, the laurel leaves, salt, pepper and 2 glasses of water and we braise the meat by adding water in order to have enough sauce. We use another pan with salted water and, when it boils, we add the spaghetti, uncut, and boil it for approximately 15 minutes. We strain and rinse the spaghetti with cold water. To serve, we put the pasta, add the meat and sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese.Kakavia - Greek fish soup
1.5 kg sliced big fish (different fishes of our choice: dusky grouper, merou, seabream, white grouper etc.)
2 ring-cut onions
5-6 sliced potatoesφέτες
Half a cup olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
We sauté the onions in the olive oil in a deep pan, we add the potatoes and we cover in water. We boil for 5 minutes and then we add the fish, salt and pepper and we boil for 20-25 minutes more until cooked. We remove the pan from the fire and we add the lemon juice.New Year's cake with olive oil
1.5 glass olive oil
2 glasses sugar
Zest and juice from 2 oranges
Half a glass milk
Half a kilo self-raising flour
We whisk the olive oil and the sugar and we continue with the yolks, the zest, the vanillas, the orange juice, the milk, the flour and lastly the egg white whisked in frosting. We stir slightly to homogenize the ingredients and we put the mix in an oiled No. 30 baking tin. We don't forget to put a fake-gold token. We bake in average temperature in the oven for less than 1 hour.Orange cookies
2 glasses olive oil
2 glasses sugar
1 glass orange juice
1 spoonful cinnamon clovers
1 sachet baking powder
1 spoonful baking soda
Flour as much as it takes to make a soft dough
We whisk the oil with the sugar, we continue with the cinnamon clovers, the soda, which must be dissolved in the orange juice, and lastly the flour, which must be mixed with the baking powder. We knead a soft and elastic dough and we mold cookies. We then sprinkle them with sesame, we place them in an oiled baking tin and bake them in the oven at an average temperature for 15-20 minutes in order to get slightly rosy.Beauty tips for your face, body and hair, with olive oil recipes
Olive oil is one of the main ingredients of cosmetics and can act in many ways, given that its benefits are many. On its own, it's an integrated cosmetic. Women in ancient Greece used pure olive oil as a cosmetic for face care. Apart from the fact that olive oil is a 100% natural product (maybe one of the few products that are truly 100% natural), it also has moisturizing properties, it's hypoallergenic, whereas at the same time it's also a powerful antioxidant. It contains vitamins A and E, it helps the skin be rejuvenated and freshened, whereas it also helps towards the regeneration of the skin that has suffered damage from solar radiation and air pollution. The antioxidants contained in olive oil have the natural property to stimulate the skin cells and force them to return to a more stable, more smooth and healthy condition. Whether it is applied in the face or the body, olive oil goes deep down the skin and offers protection as a skin shield. It makes the skin smooth, whereas at the same time it also moisturizes it. It is used either as a night cream or a day cream. The use of extra virgin olive oil has even better results. Mixing olive oil with a few drops of lemon juice can offer a greater sense of skin rejuvenation.
Face masks with olive oil
Face mask for normal skin
You will need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme honey
Mix the ingredients, apply the mix on your face and neck for 20 minutes and remove with warm water.
"Immediate" moisturization creams
Mix 1 ripe avocado (pulp), 1 tablespoon yogurt, 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon honey. Apply and leave it for 20 minutes, rinse your face with warm water.
Mix well 1 ripe avocado (pulp), 1 whisked egg white, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon apple vinegar. Apply on your face and leave it for 15 minutes, rinse your face with warm water.
Homemade whitening mask
Mash together 5 strawberries, 2 spoonfuls organic yogurt, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon honey and 2 tablespoons oats, until all the ingredients are mixed together into a "puree". Apply on your face with clean hands, leave it for 20 minutes and rinse. Strawberries are known for their whitening properties, whereas the other ingredients will help you keep your skin shiny, healthy and moisturized.
Make your own body massage oil
How do I moisturize and rejuvenate my skin? I mix 100 ml olive oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil and I do a light massage after the shower. It absolutely invigorates, nourishes and moisturizes my skin.
- 150 ml peanut oil,50 ml olive oil, 30ml rosewater and lavender essential oil.
We place all the ingredients in a bottle with a nozzle or a spray ending and we shake until all the ingredients become one. Given that it's very possible that our materials are separated, we repeat the shaking procedure prior to every use.
For hair moisturization