For the Cook & Foodie on your List, Consider this Healthy Holiday Gift

By Heather Listhartke

Many people rely on olive oil when they cook, as it is thought to be healthier than many other oils that could be used. These health benefits have solidified olive oil as a culinary mainstay and is a main element in the Mediterranean diet. Much research has been done on olive oil that has revealed the exact composition of polyphenols which protect the body from many diseases because they function like antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Although olive oils in general are good for the body, the best source of these benefits is extra virgin olive oil.

Did you know just a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil helps the body?

Because of these nutrients, researches have found that as little as 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day can lower anti-inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, lower the risk of cardiovascular problems, balance cholesterol, improve digestive system, support bone health, reduce gallstones, and improve cognitive function. It also works to keep control insulin levels in the body as well as protect your body from cell damage, colon, breast cancer, diabetes, heart problems, arthritis, high cholesterol, weight loss, metabolism, digestion, aging and cancer. Consuming 4 tablespoons or more a day can significantly lower your heart risks such as stroke or heart disease. It’s important though not to overdo it. Olive oil is high in calories, but is a healthy fat. Therefore, moderation, as with everything, is important.

As many of us like to approach the new year with resolutions to be healthier, consider incorporating olive oils in your diet.Olive oil boosts metabolism leading to a reduction in body weight. It also is rich in vitamin E making it especially good for good bone structure and much more effective for preventing the aging process.

Just as olive oil helps heal cells internally, it can also help exterior skin cells heal themselves. It is used in everything from skin moisturizers and nail care kits as it helps give a skin, nails and hair a natural shine and glow.

Here’s some uses for olive oil:

Cooking – Start using olive oil for cooking or as a replacement whenever a recipe calls for butter. Or you can split the recipe by using half oil and half butter

Body Oil – Rub a couple drops on your body or face after washing. You might even try shaving with it or using it to remove makeup.

Control Hair Frizz, Dry Cuticles & Nails – Just comb a drop of olive oil through your hair to control flyaways and frizz. Rub it into nail cuticles and nails for a naturally polished look.

Control a Nagging Cough or Scratchy Throat – Swallow a tablespoon to soothe a dry or irritated throat.

Shine Stainless Pots & Pans – Olive oil will prevent streaking and tarnishing and naturally condition your pots and pans.

Lip Balm – Olive oil is the perfect lip balm to keep chapped lips at bay. It’s also great to use on your hands as a soothing hand lotion in winter.

Bath Oil – Add a few drops of olive oil to the water you’re running for your bath. The benefits to your skin will be obvious even after the first time you use it.

Olive oil, however, has to be stored carefully. As light can damage the oil through oxidation, at the store, you should choose a dark green glass bottle or other material. The oil should then be stored in a room temperature cupboard. Olive oil does go rancid after a while though. If kept in the cupboard away from light, it typically lasts about a year.

For good quality olive oil and advice on olive oils, visit Olive Vitality, located at the CoolSprings Galleria (outside the mall between ULTA and Kings Bowl) at 1910 Galleria Blvd #110 Franklin, TN 37067. For more information, visit their website.