My grandparents both lived into their mid-nineties, and they
always looked far younger than they were. If you asked them what their secret
was, they’d tell you plenty of garlic, leafy greens and, you guessed it, olive
This isn’t just an old wives tale — when you break olive oil
down into its chemical compounds, you find that the monosaturated fats strengthen
your skin cells to fight sun damage. It’s also been proven that the vitamin D
and E keep the skin super moist and devoid of wrinkles!
Did you know… that simple olive oil is likely one of the
oldest natural medicines!
Olive trees originated in the Mediterranean basin some 6,000
years ago. Olive trees flower in late-spring and later yields their olives, but
it takes at least 15 years for the plant to completely mature. Once they are
full-grown, they grow an abundance of olives for decades, even centuries!
Since each little olive contains only a fraction of oil, it
takes about 200 olives to make the 4 cups of olive oil we see in green-tinted
The intricate process of harvesting and processing the
olives is the reason that olive oil was so treasured in the ancient world. In
3,000 BC on the island of Crete, olive oil was a sign of wealth. It was used as
an anointing oil by holy men, conquerors, and kings.
It wasn’t really until Hippocrates began using olive oil as
a base for topical healing that people began to view olive oil as a medicine,
and not just a sacred spiritual substance. Healers continued to test olive oil
and found that it was useful for sore throats and could take on additional
healing properties by infusing herbs, veggies, and fruits into the oil over
Fast forward thousands of years to today — not only is olive
oil a time-tested and classic essential in culinary herbalism, scientists are
proving its ability to heal!
A key longevity food…
Researchers began studying olive oil when the Mediterranean
diet became popular. They noticed that Italians, Greeks, and Spaniards – groups
that consumed high amounts of olive oil – had lower rates of heart issues,
neurodegenerative disorders, and strokes.
Olive oil has strong medicinal benefits that can be traced
back to its abundance of antioxidants which help fight off free radicals
that if not eliminated, can lead to inflammation and serious illnesses like
One study in Barcelona, Spain revealed significant evidence
that regularly cooking with olive oil dramatically decreases the likelihood of
developing high cholesterol. They determined that olive oil reduces
inflammation along with the tissues that line your blood vessels, which keeps
your blood pressure steady and strong.
Another study done in France confirmed
this — these scientists found that having olive oil every day
decreases the possibility of stroke by boosting ‘good’ cholesterol and
preventing the formation of blood clots.
Not all olive oils are created equal.
Take supermarket olive oils. They can sit on store shelves
for many months, even years, growing dull, stale, even rancid.
Olive oil can oxidize rapidly and form harmful compounds if
you’re not careful. It’s healthiest and most delicious when stored in a
light-proof vessel, whether that be the dark green glass bottles that you’ve
probably seen or a high-quality metal container.
*You may have seen it reported recently that many
supermarket olive oils are counterfeits and could even contain harmful
My grandparents always steered clear of these shady “olive
oils,” knowing well that they likely had none of the healing benefits that come
with the true, fresh olive oil of their homeland. Instead, they’d go for the
good stuff. My grandparents used this healing remedy every day, in almost every
meal – and they lived to be 97 years old!
3 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Olive Oil:
Extra Virgin is the highest quality –
created from 100% cold-pressed olives, with no processed oils added to it.
It also tends be higher in antioxidants and the good fats. Always get
Extra Virgin if possible!
Check the harvest date – Olive oil is
best when consumed within the first 2 years of being bottled. Most bottles
will tell you the harvest date, so make sure your batch was born in that
Use it uncooked — I love cooking with
olive oil over flame, but it’s even better when you add it to cold or
recently plated foods (for example, add it to your hot veggies after they’ve
been cooked). Uncooked olive oil retains more of its health benefits and
it has twice as much flavor!
The kitchen is a sacred place in my house, and it’s been
that way for generations. If the preparation and enjoyment of delicious healing
foods is something you hold dear — then knowing the lineage and unique
character of your ingredients is an absolute must.
It’ll take your experience (and the flavors you create) to
the next level!
Host of Remedy: Ancient Medicine for Modern Illness