Olive also known as Olea Europea is a small tree from the plant family Oleaceae. Olea Europea means European olive. It is found in the Mediterranean Basin, Arabian Peninsula, Canary Islands and Southern Asia. It is cultivated in places all over the world like Saudi Arabia, Java, California and Bermuda.
Olive fruit is the most important and used part of the tree. Olive tree is an evergreen tree that grows up to a height of 8-15m. It has small white flowers with ten calyces and Corolla. There are two stamens and stigma. The fruit is drupe in shape which is almost 1-2.5 cm long. The initial fruit is green in colour and changes its colour to purple. The seed of Olea Europea is known as a stone in British English.
Raw olives are bitter in taste. Olive oil extracted from the fruits is widely popular for its multiple purposes. It is enriched with Vitamin K, E, oleic acid and is free from carbohydrates and bad cholesterol. It contains healthy monounsaturated fats and a large number of antioxidants which make it highly useful for health purposes. Strong anti-inflammatory properties and anti-bacterial properties of this oil help in reducing the risk of several diseases.
This oil is also used in cooking, cosmetics, medicines and soaps. It plays an important role in carrying out low-calorie diets due to its highly nutritious nature. There are several types of olive oil like virgin olive oil, pure olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, lampante oil, etc.
Benefits of Olive Oil
- Helps in treating Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis involves pain in joints, inflammation and stiffness of joints. The anti-inflammatory action of olive oil helps in controlling these symptoms of arthritis. It also helps in suppressing the oxidative stress in patients suffering from arthritis.
- Improves cardiovascular system: Olive oil is low in fats and bad cholesterol. It improves cardiovascular system and makes the body strong enough to resist hypertension, heart strokes, inflammation and high cholesterol.
- Boosts digestion: Olive oil has stimulating properties that help in cleansing the digestive tract with the improvement in bowel movements. It improves the digestion of food and contributes towards making the body healthy.
- Reduces the risk of breast cancer: Studies suggest that olive oil protects the body against breast cancer. It encourages the damage of tumour cells which in turn reduces the risk of breast cancer.
- Helps in managing weight: The mono-unsaturated fats in olive oil make weight gain a difficult task. Studies suggest that people consuming olive oil have a high level of anti-oxidants which helps in managing weight loss.
- Protects from Ulcerative Colitis: Ulcerative colitis is a condition with inflammation in the intestines. The anti-inflammatory qualities of olive oil help in reducing the inflammation. It also improves the digestive system.
- Improves Metabolism: Olive oil helps in improving the metabolic rate of the body. A good metabolic rate helps in better digestion and manages the body weight. This oil is rich in vitamin E which improves the growth and brain development in children. It is also very beneficial for the health of adults.