It is known as “the liquid gold of the Mediterranean”. Athena herself was its patron goddess – the favorite Zeus’ daughter, the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom and science. The olive oil or the oil of the fruit of the olive tree has been a source of health, youth for more than 6000 years. It is the base of the so called “Mediterranean diet” which is considered to be the healthiest diet providing energy and vitality to old age by the contemporary dietetics.
The olive (Elea Europea in Latin) is an evergreen tree from family Oleaceae. It has a typical trunk and silver green leaves, which feel like leather in touch. Its homeland is Asia Minor but it is cultivated in all the Mediterranean The biggest olive oil producers were Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey.
The olive oil is widely used in cuisine, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries and in soap production.
Its undoubted health benefits were proved at the ancient times. Briefly they sound like this:
The olive oil prevents from heart disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, cancer of the stomach and colon cancer, rheumatoid arthritis etc. It stimulates the calcium absorption and takes care of the bone density. Leading nutritionists (Frank Sacks from Harvard for example) say that the regular consumption is much more effective in the fight against overweight than every low fat diet.
Olive oil’s composition is a combination of monounsaturated fatty acids (mainly oleic) and antioxidants. Unsaturated fatty acids increase the level of "good" cholesterol and decrease "bad". And the antioxidants neutralize free radicals – they are not only the main reason for aging but also one of the reasons for the appearance of some kinds of cancer. The optimum daily intake is a dose of 25 ml. extra virgin olive oil.
As for the cosmetic applications of olive oil they are almost limitless:
- Face – the olive oil can be used on its own or as an ingredient of home masks especially for nourishing and moisturizing dry, aging skin. It is great for cleaning waterproof makeup. The leading cosmetic brands have complete face product series with olive oil as a basic component.
- Hair – it is the most well-known means of maintaining healthy and beautiful hair because of its ability to hydrate, strengthen, nourishe, it is the most famous reliable natural product that keeps your hair healthy and beautiful. Its effect on hair exposed to the sun or processed by exhausting heat treatments - hair dryer, hair straighteners is irreplaceable.
- Body – boiled in a water bath olive oil is a natural and highly effective care for delicate baby skin. The following simple advice is saved from the women’s ancient beauty rituals: warm bath followed by a gentle massage with olive oil and wrapping in a warm towel. The skin is simply unrecognizable in 20 minutes - soft as velvet. The olive oil is often mixed with other oils such as lemon oil. Many fabricated products – body lotions, creams, massage oils rely on olive oil as a strong moisturizer.