BITS & PIECES - OLIVE OIL · Parkinson's Resource Organization

BITS & PIECES - OLIVE OIL

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Although the olive tree originated in Asia, it has been cultivated for over 3,000 years in Mediterranean countries, where much of the olive crop is used to make olive oil.  In the process, olives are pitted and ground to a thick pulp.  The pulp is then pressed to remove the juices, which are placed in a centrifuge to separate the water from the oil.  One tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, but the fat is mostly monounsaturated; it has a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels and is easily digested.  In those countries where olive oil is consumed extensively, such as Greece, Italy, and Spain, there is a low incidence of cardiovascular diseases.  The mild vegetable mucilage in olive oil protects the body’s digestive tract.  Ancient civilizations used olive oil to help heal wounds.  Today it is considered a good remedy for skin problems and an effective moisturizer.

Therapeutic Effect: Taken internally, olive oil stimulates metabolism, promotes digestion and lubricates mucous membranes.  It can also be applied externally to treat dry skin.

Components: Olive oil contains 77 percent monounsaturated fatty acids, 14 percent saturated fatty acids, and 9 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids, plus vegetable mucilage and vitamin E.

Help for the digestive tract: Take 1 tbsp. of olive oil on an empty stomach to stimulate digestion and relieve upset stomach, flatulence, and heartburn.

Olive oil for constipation: In the morning, take 1 tsp. of olive oil mixed with lemon juice on an empty stomach.  Or try an enema made from 5 oz. of olive oil in 20 oz. of boiling water, cooled to lukewarm.

The antioxidant benefit: The vitamin E in olive oil is an antioxidant.  In addition, monounsaturated fatty acids are less easily damaged by oxygen than other types of fat.  They are therefore less likely to produce free radicals, which damage cell membranes and contribute to several diseases.

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Updated: August 16, 2017