Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olives (the fruit of Olea europaea; family Oleaceae), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin, produced by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil. Olive oil is the most common vegetable oil. It is commonly used in cooking, for frying foods, or as a salad dressing. It is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps, and has additional uses in some religions. The olive is one of three core food plants in Mediterranean cuisine; the other two are wheat and grapes. Olive trees have been grown around the Mediterranean since the 8th millennium BC.
According to an article published by Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology, the modern olive tree most likely originated in ancient Persia and Mesopotamia, spreading towards Syria and Palestine in the Mediterranean Basin where it was cultivated and later introduced to North Africa. Some scholars have argued that olive cultivation originated with the Ancient Egyptians.
Olive trees were introduced to the Americas in the 16th century AD when cultivation began in areas that enjoyed a climate similar to the Mediterranean such as Chile, Argentina, and California.
Use and effect
Olive oil is monounsaturated fat, rich in polyphenols that have various benefits for the body, especially when consumed raw:
it slows down the aging process of cells.
prevents stroke in predisposed individuals.
it is good for the heart and the entire cardiovascular system.
reduces the deposition of LDL cholesterol in the arteries, preventing the formation of plaques.
it reduces the inflammations present in the body and in the tissues, thanks to the presence of polyphenols.
acts on the cortisol levels that cause stress decrease the risk of developing diabetes.
promotes learning and memory, protecting brain tissue from toxic substances.
promotes the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins during meals, lubricating the digestive channels.