Spain as the world’s largest producer
Spain is the largest olive producer in the world, of which only the southern Andalusia already supplies 85%. The country takes up one third of the total world production and supplies more than double that number 2, Italy. Moreover, the country has an enormous variety of olives.
Hilly fields with endless rows of olive trees, the moss green leaf color contrasting with the brown, dry earth. The fruits with an extensive palette of colors, ranging from light green, yellow-green, purple mottled to aubergine-black. Huge trunks with the most amazing deformities, olive trees that are sometimes hundreds or even thousands of years old. We mainly know these images from the province of Jaén and Córdoba, Spain’s largest suppliers of olive oil. Yet the province of Málaga is also emerging, with special and high quality oil. Did you know there are more than thirty different olive oils to be found here?
You have no doubt already used olive oil in your salads or for cooking. The oil is regularly used in gastronomy, both for its exceptional taste and for its many health benefits. But olive oil is so much more!
Olive oil, the liquid gold
As we all know, olive oil is an oil extracted from the fruits of the olive tree, which mainly grows in the Mediterranean area. The oil has been used for centuries, including in the kitchen, for cosmetic products and soaps, for medical purposes and as a dietary supplement.
The purest, “extra virgin” variety of olive oil is extremely rich in nutrients and is extracted by mechanical extraction without the use of chemicals and without heating the oil. As with certain wines, the production of extra virgin olive oil is subject to strict rules and controls.
The secret to a long life?
The impressive quality of olive oil for our health is no longer a secret, but we would still like to give you an overview of eleven things about olives that you may not have known:
- Antioxidant: olives are rich in hydroxytyrosol, a type of polyphenol. Hydroxytyrosol is nature’s most powerful antioxidant (15 times more powerful than green tea!) And, among other things, helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by counteracting the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
- Vitamin E: Green olives are a source of Vitamin E, another important antioxidant. Vitamin E helps to protect cell membranes, especially our red and white blood cells.
- Unsaturated Fatty Acids: Olive oil is very rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. Like hydroxytyrosol, monounsaturated fatty acids help to control your cholesterol levels and protect you from cardiovascular disease.
- Painkiller: Its oleocanthal content gives olive oil anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce muscle and joint pain. Several studies have shown that people who regularly eat this oil suffer less than people who do not use the oil.
- As a cough syrup: a tablespoon of the oil before going to bed helps against nighttime coughs. The taste of pure olive oil may not be for everyone, but it is worth it.
- Blood pressure lowering: An average of three tablespoons of olive oil a day can help lower your blood pressure. Several studies have shown that olive oil can help lower both systolic pressure (or upper pressure) and diastolic pressure (or negative pressure).
- Source of vitamin K: vitamin K is needed for the building of the proteins that are responsible for normal blood clotting and for the formation of our bones.
- Good for the memory: this liquid gold is said to be good for the maintenance of our cognitive functions. This is due to the presence of unsaturated fatty acids and EPA, an omega 3 fatty acid, which stimulate memory and our brain functions.
- Against skin aging: olive oil is rich in polyphenols and omega 9, antioxidants that prevent and slow down the aging of the skin cells. In addition, omega 9 moisturizes and nourishes the skin.
- Natural skin care and make-up remover: the liquid gold has a restorative and softening effect, counteracts dehydration and acts as an antioxidant. Instead of using products full of chemicals, why not cleanse your skin with olive oil? With regular use, you will be amazed at the effects.
- As a hair care: olive oil is perfect for making your hair shine again. The oil moisturizes your hair, gives it volume, prevents hair loss and repairs split ends.