As you’ll have realised if you’ve been reading my blog for a little while (and if you’re new here: WELCOME!), I eat Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) every day and use it in pretty much everything I cook (which I do, from scratch 85% of the time); but lately I’ve been thinking about what people do with olive oil if they’re not eating it. And I’ve found a surprising number of uses for the golden nectar. Okay, you might not want to use Extra Virgin for all these ideas, Virgin or even Olive Oil will suffice for some of them. I’ve been totally spoiled the last few months as, living in Spain, I’ve only got EVOO (AOVE) in the kitchen (and quite a few bottles at that!). So, without further ado, what else, apart from eating it, can you do with olive oil?
In Japan (the 14th largest consumer of OO in the world) olive oil is often used medicinally with 2 tablespoons taken daily. According to the USFDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) this amount may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Three components of olive oil currently being studied are: Oleocanthal which mimics the effect of Ibuprofen in reducing inflammation alongside Squalene and Lignans which can reduce the risk of breast cancer and its recurrence (Source: The Olive Oil Times) Olive oil is rich in anti oxidants, especially Vitamin E which has long been thought to minimise cancer risk.
Studies indicate that olive oil consumption reduces blood pressure, helps to control obesity and reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. It has been demonstrated that a diet including regular consumption of olive oil is an effective approach for diabetics, improving blood sugar control and enhancing insulin sensitivity. (Source: The Olive Oil Times)
Applied to sunburn, the phytonutrients in olive oil help the skin to heal quickly and it can also be effective when applied to acne or scar tissue.
- I don’t spend a lot of money on cosmetics or skincare having been introduced to Oil of Ulay in my teens, but I recently followed the advice of a fellow blogger (Nikki Garnett from Midlife Chic ‘the thinking woman’s style blog’) and purchased some Verso Super Facial Serum with Retinol 8 from online retailer Effortless Skin. Anyhow, the product arrived promptly with an accompanying magazine called Skin Health. An article entitled ‘Is there such a thing as perfect skin?’ (by Shari Shallard) caught my eye and I was intrigued to discover that one of the five ladies interviewed, 97-year old skincare sage Ruby declared “The only thing I’ve ever used on my face is olive oil. I wash my face to keep it clean, then I put on the olive oil and wipe it off”. I’d love to show you a photo of Ruby but the best I can offer is a link to the article online here take a quick look and then come back. She looks fabulous doesn’t she! Two things stand out for me in this article a) that a glowing 97-year old uses olive oil, how enlightened that would have been in her 20s and b) that a magazine promoting the whole gamut of skincare products was happy to include a lady who looks fantastic and doesn’t use any of them!
- As a body scrub: mix 1 part EVOO with 1 part Sea Salt and add a couple of drops of the essential oil of your choice. Gently scrub and exfoliate all over and then wash off with warm water for beautifully soft, glowing skin.
- As a monthly scalp masque – pour some EVOO into a plastic bottle and put this bottle into a bowl of hot water to warm slightly. Apply to scalp and hair, wrap in a towel and leave for 10-15 minutes. Wash with a mild shampoo and rinse.
- For beautiful nails, apply a weekly dose of olive oil to soften your cuticles and strengthen your nails.
- Run out of make-up remover? Not to worry. Apply a few drops of olive oil to a cotton pad and gently wipe off make-up in a circular movement. Take particular care around the eye area and on the eyes themselves, place the pad against the closed eyelid for 10 seconds before gently wiping.
And remember, used in cooking you can replace butter in most recipes by adopting the ratio: 25 grams of butter = 15 mls of olive oil; 1 teaspoon of butter = 3/4 teaspoon of oil. Great for vegans and others who might be trying to avoid or reduce their dairy intake.
Got some other great ideas? Don’t keep them to yourself, we love to hear from readers so comment on this post or on The Olive Oil Taster Facebook page. Check us out on Instagram and on Twitter @TasteOliveOil.
Until next time, happy eating, scrubbing and softening! Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nutritionist, chemist or skincare specialist please consult an expert if in doubt about anything contained in this blog.