Olive oil is a natural juice made from pressing olives, and has a long history. Olive oil has many health benefits, but, if overused, can also cause some health risks. One to three tablespoons of olive oil daily should provide enormous health benefits with minimal risk.
Olive trees are some of the oldest known cultivated trees in the world; there is evidence of cultivation as early as 3,000 B.C. Olives and olive oil were used for a range of purposes including cooking, religious ceremonies and the anointing of new monarchs. It is only within the past several centuries that the olive and olive oil has spread to North America.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants, making it a very healthy substance for ingestion. In particular, it reduces the risk of clogged arteries. Olive oil protects against heart disease by helping to control cholesterol; helps to heal ulcers and gastritis; lowers risk of gallstone formation; protects against colon cancer; boosts metabolism; and is very rich in iron and vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E. Olive oil's oleic acids help to prevent many cancers including breast and colon cancers.
Olive oil carries 77 per cent of oleic fatty acid, which promotes blood clotting. Too much olive oil ingestion can result in poor blood circulation. Because olive oil is monounsaturated-fat rich, it can readily react with free radicals and produce trans fatty acid when heated. Olive oil is also extremely high in calories (about nine calories per gram) and can contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess.