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Olive Oil

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Olea europaea (fruit), Oleum olivae Family: Oleaceae

COMMON NAME(S): Olive oil, sweet oil, salad oil

Choosing extra virgin olive oil as your main source of dietary fat, combined with eating a healthy diet that is high in plant foods, may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Moderate amounts of olive oil may also reduce abdominal fat, if eaten as part of a diet high in plant foods.

History

"Olea" comes from the Latin "oliva" meaning olive.The fruit dates back to the 17th century BC and appears to be native to Palestine.One source mentions that Ramses II, Egyptian ruler between 1300 and 1200 BC, used olive oil for every ailment.

Botany :- The olive is technically a fruit, ellipsoid and drupaceous in character, measuring 2 to 3 cm in length.The fruits grow from an evergreen tree, which seldom exceeds 10 or 12 m in height. The plants were first cultivated in Greece but are now widely grown in Mediterranean countries and the US. Many cultivated varieties are the result of its geographic diversity.

Olive oil is a fixed oil, expressed from ripe olive fruits. It is pale-yellow and may have a greenish tint, depending on the ratio of chlorophyll to carotene. Taste has been described as characteristic but slight or bland to faintly acrid. Olive oil is offered in several grades of purity, including "virgin" oil (initial unrefined oil from first fruit pressing) or "pure" (lower quality from subsequent pressings). Chemically, the difference between "extra virgin" and "virgin" oils involve the amount of free oleic acid (ie, virgin allows 4% free oleic acid, and extra virgin allows 1%)

Types of olive oil

Generally, olive oil is extracted by pressing or crushing olives. Olive oil comes in different varieties, depending on the amount of processing involved. Varieties include:

  • Extra virgin - considered the best; this oil comes from the first pressing of the olives
  • Virgin - from the second pressing
  • Pure - undergoes some processing, such as filtering and refining
  • Extra light - undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavour.

Uses of Olive Oil

Olive oil is used for cooking, as a salad oil, and as a vehicle for oily suspensions for injections. It is used to prepare soaps, plasters, ointments, and liniments, and is used as a demulcent and emollient. Olive oil is a mild laxative, and it lowers cholesterol.

Side Effects of Olive Oil

Olive oil has caused temporary mild diarrhea and allergic reactions from external use.

Toxicology

Ingestion of excessive amounts of olive oil has resulted in temporary mild diarrhea.In rare cases, topical use of olive oil has caused allergic reactions.

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