Ibn al-Qayyim described the benefits of olive oil in his Prophetic Medicine. He said that the characteristics of olive oil corresponded to the type of olives from which it came from; oil pressed from ripe olives was the better than oil from unripe olives. He also said that the older the oil, the more effective it was, and when olive oil was more beneficial when it was pressed with water.
Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned that all types of olive oil could soften the skin and delay whitening of the hair. He also said that the benefits of olive oil were many times greater than have been mentioned.
He gave some Prophetic Hadith on the benefits of using olive oil:
The Messenger (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) said: "Eat olive oil and anoint yourselves with it, for it is from a blessed tree." (Tirmidhi At'ima, 43)
"Eat olive oil with your bread, and oil yourselves with it, for it is from a blessed tree." (Ibn Maja, At'ima, 34)
Olive and olive oil Facts
Olives are the fruits that grow on the olive tree, which comes from the Oleaceae family. They contain a single pit and their flesh is filled with oil. The ripe fruits are pressed to extract the oil.
Green and black olives are essentially the same olive and only vary in the degree of ripeness- black being the most ripe.
Olive oil consists of 75% heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and only 13% saturated fat. It contains active compounds such as oleocanthal, which has a strong anti-inflammatory action to fight heart-disease and cancer. It also contains the natural antioxidants polyphenols, whose beneficial effects include lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of coronary heart disease. Many other nut and seed oils have no polyphenols whatsoever.
Olive oil Facts
- For the highest antioxidant content, choose extra-virgin or virgin olive oil- these are the least processed forms.
- Extra-virgin comes from the first pressing of the olives and has a superior taste.
- Virgin olive oil is obtained by pressing the crushed fruit in bags and removing the oil. It has a geeenish tint and has a stronger taste than virgin olive oil.
- Olive oils with labels such as 'refined oil' 'pomace olive oil' or 'light oil' should be avoided as they are not always 100% olive oil. Pomace is the ground flesh and pits after pressing.
- Use olive oil for low-temperature cooking. The particles in the oil will burn at higher temperatures, thus burning off the many health benefits.
- Store your olive oil away from heat and light to maintain phytochemical content.
References for further information