The History and Uses of Olive Oil, Yesterday and Today

History of the olive

Olive Oil is considered by many Health Experts to be the all purpose eating and cooking oil. Its uses date back 4-6,000 years BC. in the region of the Mediterranean. Iran or ancient Persia, is the birth place of this magic product!

The olive was a native to Asia Minor, and spread from Iran, Syria, and Palestine to the rest of the region 6,000 years ago. The Olive Tree is among the oldest cultivated trees by man-being grown before the written language was invented.

Long recognized for its beneficial effect on human health, many scientific studies suggest it is one of the reasons for a lower rate of cancer among people fo the Mediterranean, [Aprox half of the US rate]. A Mediterranean diet is suggested by many to be the most healthy way to eat. Fresh fruits, grains, and natural cheeses combined with cooking methods make this an easy and healthy way of life. Olive Oil can quickly satisfy hunger and lead to fewer total calories ingested at mealtime.

High in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants olive oil is one of the few oils that can be eaten without Chemical Processing. Try substituting it for butter, margarine, and tropical oils in your diet.

The usage of Olive Oil is determined by the dish being prepared. Veggies and fish require the light fragrant Virgin Oil. also use this oil to dress salads, add to soup to give a velvet quality. The oil may be infused with many flavors try aromatic herbs, garlic, citrus rind, or peperoncino. Also used to make healthy dips, try some Baba Ghanoush or Humus I am sure your family and friends will love it! For frying the rectified oil is recommended. NEVER use oil more than twice for cooking!

While I have used Olive Oils from many places around the globe I find the Turkish, Egyptian, and Spanish to have the best flavor! I am sure it is the environment has much to do with the finished product  as domestic oils tend to be far less flavorful and lack the sweetness and body I desire. Just a hint: grocery stores tent to have a high mark-up on olive oils, look for the best quality and price at your local Mediterranean markets. Olives and Olive Oil have been used in many religions and cultures. 1,400 years ago the Prophet Muhammad advised his followers to apply the oil to their bodies, he anointed his head with it. Christians often use it as Holy Oil during baptism. One of its earliest uses by the Greeks was to anoint winning athletes, a crown of branches were worn by royalty.

Today besides its use in food products and preparation, its used in soaps, lotions, perfumes, lamp oils, and the list goes we know the benefits are never ending. The Olive and its oil is one of the wonders of the world, so use it for better health!

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Sy Kravitz
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Posted on Jul 21, 2009