Author: Faheema Mahomed Ali
Date: 20 October 2022
“He causes to grow for you thereby the crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and from all the fruits. Indeed, in that is a sign for people who give thought” (Al Qur’an, 16:11)
Olives are mentioned several times in the Holy Qur’an and the Messenger of Allah (SAW) also emphasised the benefits of olives and its oil when he said; “Season (your food) with olive oil and anoint yourselves with it, for it comes from a blessed tree.” [Ibn Majah].
Olives and Olive oil is viewed as a superfood by nutritional experts and is a key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is often viewed as the healthiest diet in the world today. Olive oil consists of a large amount of unsaturated fatty acids and phenols. Some of the key components of olive oil is oleic acid, oleocanthal and oleuropein.
One of the most common health benefits of olive oil is its effect on cardiovascular health. Olive oil is seen as one of the healthiest oils and decreases cholesterol levels. It is said to have cardio-protective properties and prevents the development of cardiovascular diseases. Oleic acid found in olives and olive oil has been found to be effective against breast, colon and prostrate cancer cells. Oleic acid decreases the expression of cancer genes and has also been effective in halting the spread of cancer cells.
Oleocanthal, found in olives and olive oil, has very potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic properties. Oleocanthal is said to be as effective as ibuprofen. The regular consumption of olive oil has been found to prevent the onset of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It has also been found in several scientific clinical trials, that rheumatoid arthritis patients who supplemented with olive oil experienced great improvements in clinical symptoms. Olive oil could therefore be used as an effective way to decrease and manage pain.
Oleuropein is said to have the ability to improve glucose metabolism. Olives and olive oil is therefore an important component in regulating blood glucose levels and managing type 2 diabetes.
Olive oil also have cosmetic benefits to the skin and hair. Due to its high antioxidant content, olive oil rejuvenates the skin and prevents pre-mature aging due to sun damage. It also promotes healthy hair growth.