September 5th, 2012 | admin

The Anatomy of Olive Oil (and 3 Reasons Your Skin Loves It)

Olive oil is one of the three main ingredients of Alivea. While it’s a common food, it’s one powerful food that serves the skin well. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the olive and olive oil.

Growing an olive tree

Olives grow on trees in several Mediterranean, Asian, African, and Middle Eastern countries. Actually, olive trees (which can grow up to 50ft and are an evergreen-type tree) flourish just about everywhere under the right conditions, and when we say “right” we mean “hot.” Today olive trees are even grown in the United States and Mexico for commercial purposes.

The olive tree flowers, but it takes four years for the first white flowers to appear. There is nothing fast about the olive tree—the first harvest takes 15 years. But don’t worry. There will be quite a few harvests. A typical olive tree lives between 300 to 600 years.

Eating olives

There are over a dozen varieties of olives, all of which have varying colors and tastes. Eating an olive directly from the tree is not advised. It’ll be bitter! The olives you and I are used to eating from the store have been soaked in brine for months.

Other interesting olive facts:

• Ever wonder about the difference between black and green olives? Well, it’s simple. Black olives are left on the tree to ripen longer than green olives.

• Because olives have seeds (we call them pits) they are considered a fruit. Sixteen olives make up one fruit serving.

How to make olive oil

Just as you would make orange juice by pressing oranges, you make olive oil by pressing olives. And you have to press a lot of olives. It takes seven liters of olives to produce one liter of olive oil.

Extra virgin olive oil refers to the oil produced in the first press. The oil that first drips from an olive has a fruity flavor and low acid content. Skin creams and soaps that contain olive oil typically use ordinary virgin olive oil, since it is not fit for consumption.

Why your skin loves olive oil

1. Olive oil contains fatty acids, which keep your skin supple. You see, essential fatty acids help your cells to eliminate toxins and hold water, the key to moisturized and glowing skin.

2. Olive oil contains vitamins A, C, E, and K, and flavenoid polyphenols– powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants protect skin cells from free radicals. That means olive helps to prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.

3. The antioxidants in olive oil also help to treat acne, psoriasis, and eczema among other skin conditions. The list goes on and on….all the way to potential skin cancer treatments. Studies are underway.