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Olive Oil: The most ubiquitous among oils

Unlike most oils extracted from seeds, olive oil is made from fat extracted from fruits of Olea Europaea tree (popularly known as Olive). Its common variants that are more popular in India include regular, virgin and extra virgin. All these variants differ in terms of extraction, nutritional value, use and flavor of olive oil.
While regular olive oil is refined, treated with additives & preservatives before bottling, extra virgin oil is considered the purest, with high level of polyphenols (antioxidants). Golden-green in color, it’s the first extraction of the fruit – which is cold-pressed, filtered and bottled as is.
What makes olive oil so popular in India, despite being a Mediterranean crop, is its high mono-saturated fatty acid to saturated fatty acid ratio, and its right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. Extra virgin olive oil is also very rich in vitamins E and K.
From hair and skin conditioning to massaging and curing inflammation, to healing, pain relieving, and cleansing – this one oil, has found multiple uses in our daily life.
Experts for long have recommended baby massages with olive oil, especially in winters, as it helps retain water to keep baby skin hydrated for long. Its balanced fatty acid composition and antioxidants promote bone and muscle health too. Olive oil serves as a good pre-bath massage oil.
Olive oil also has unique regenerative powers over skin tissues that helps in keeping baby skin well-toned.
Experts advise inclusion of olive oil in baby diet too, after six months of birth, as the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) benefit heart and pancreas, besides serving as a good natural laxative for dealing with constipation. A warm rub of olive oil on tummy soothes colic babies, by preventing gas and uneasiness associated with it.
Olive oil also relieves cradle cap effectively, which is an oily dandruff layer on skin of the head. Some infants are born with it, leading to their skin becoming very dry & flaky. Hydrating properties of olive oil act as a natural cure, healing the skin dryness and also strengthening hair growth. It aids in keeping baby hair soft, un-frizzy and shiny too.
Olive oil also works as a great emulsion, for curing diaper rashes. The emulsion is prepared by mixing two tablespoons olive oil in one tablespoon water. Leaving it on for a few minutes and then gently wiping it helps in comforting the irritable itchy skin. It reduces inflammation and skin redness.
During winter, nose congestion, chest congestion, sore throat are a challenge with infants. A natural cough mix can be prepared with three to four teaspoons of virgin olive oil, two to three drops of rosemary, eucalyptus, and peppermint oil. This mixture can be rubbed on the chest and on back for babies. The natural fragrances of these oils aids in sound sleep, besides reducing congestion of course.
Alternatively one fourth tea spoon of olive oil mixed with a few drops of eucalyptus oil in warm water makes a great all-natural vapor to relieve chest congestion. Mild vapors help ease breathing.
Half cup of olive oil mixed with one-fourth cup of honey and one-fourth cup of lemon juice makes a great natural cough syrup that also helps reduce inflammation in throat. Warm the ingredients together to help them blend, and then just a tablespoon can be taken every few hours as needed. It works well with babies who resist taste of cough syrups. Diluting a teaspoon with some warm water can make it mild and easy to take for kids.
So much from just one oil, no wonder it’s called the ‘golden liquid’

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