Having spent most of my life reaching for the Olive Oil ‘just because‘ and trying to find good ‘Virgin’ kind, I have recently branched out and discovered a whole new world! Oil is the latest craze in my house. I have been using it for cooking, moisturizing, calming, massaging, and even for creating science experiments. Oil is everywhere! Today I am focusing on my old standby – olive oil.
We should begin with the old school fat of my kitchen. Olive oil consists of monounsaturated fat which is considered healthy dietary fat. It has been associated with lowering risk of heart disease and possibly lowering cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats are also said to normalize blood clotting and the Mayo Clinic suggested that it may also benefit insulin levels.
Olive oil contains some important polyunsaturated fats. Namely, these are an omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid and an omega-6 fatty acid known as linoleic acid. Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants, such as phenols and tocopherols as well as vitamin E.
Olive oil is still a fat should be used in moderation, but it is a wonderful substitute for butter or margarine but will not make unhealthy food healthy. There are 40 calories in one tablespoon of olive oil. Many nutrition experts extol the virtues of olive oil in the Mediterranean diet, the Mediterranean is often seen as a region with delicious, nutritious and healthful eating. Perhaps the pace at which eating takes place is also beneficial compared to the ‘grab and go’ culture of America.
It is important to select the higher quality olive oils. Extra virgin oil comes from the first pressing of the olives and is the best quality. Storing olive oil the correct way is important. Light and heat affect the nutrients and taste. Storing your olive oil in a dark cabinet is ideal. Once opened, olive oil should be used within six month to a year.
There are many uses for olive oil in addition to the obvious. Here are some things I use it for:
1. Cuticle/hand Softener: yup! I rub it on my cuticles before a DIY manicure to soften them. You can also add the iol to water and soak your hands in it…bliss!
2. Zippers: dab a little on a zipper with a cotton bud and it will lubricate a stuck zipper quicker than you can say “I’m stuck!” – or so I read recently. Have yet to try this one.
3. Shaving: I don’t buy shaving cream for me, ever! I use olive oil – just a tiny drop goes a long way and leave skin soft too! My hubby won’t use it, much to my chagrin…so he has to buy his own shaving cream! (aren’t I a meanie 🙂 )
4. Hair: My hair is naturally greasy so I don’t do this often, but put a tiny drop of olive oil in the palm of your hand, rub it into palms then smooth over hair to tame fly-aways or frizz.
5. Keep pets healthy: a drip in dog or cat food will help make Fido’s coat silky and shiny and help prevent hairballs in Kitty. Keeps the insides lubed too!
6. Bath oil: Super-soft skin will be yours if you add a few drops to a running bath. I also add a drop of scented oil for a really luxurious experience.
7. Revitalize leather: rub leather item with a cloth damped with olive oil. Leave for at least 30 mins and then wipe off. Hubby uses this for our son’s baseball glove and I tried it on our leather couch too. It worked!
8. Diaper rash: I do not have babies any more but my pediatrician taught me this trick back when my boys were colicky, pooping machines. 🙂
As you can tell, I am a big fan of olive oil. I believe there are many great brands out there but I actually find the Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Stop and Shop’s own brand range to be very good. It tastes great too.