The Mediterranean diet is favored by people around the world, and not only for the rich flavors and textures associated with this traditional cuisine. A wide range of health benefits have been ascribed to the Mediterranean pattern of eating, including protection against heart disease, depression, cancer, high cholesterol and dementia. Scientists and health-care providers have increasingly been turning their attention to the fruit of the olive tree and its oil, and in some cases to olive leaves, all with good reason.

There are huge variety of uses for olive oil in treating ailments and it is often called the substance the ‘great therapeutic’ since both olive oil and olive leaf extract have been found to have medicinal properties

Extra-virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats we know of. It contains the vitamins E and K as well as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and it consists mostly of monounsaturated fats. FDA even permits labels on olive oil bottles containing this specific health claim. Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil.

Howver we found plenty of studies that have shown that consuming olive oil, especially the extra-virgin kind, can help with conditions such as the following:

· High cholesterol
High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease. There are two types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. LDL is considered the bad type of cholesterol and olive oil can help reduce levels of this in your blood. However, HDL is a good cholesterol and you need higher levels of this to be healthy. The great thing about olive oil is that it doesn’t reduce your HDL levels, In fact, it can increase them.

· High blood pressure
Olive oil helps to reduce blood pressure, which in turn reduces your risk of heart disease and strokes.

· Diabetes
Because olive oil helps to regulate blood-sugar levels, enhances insulin sensitivity and helps to reduce levels of low-density lipoproteins, it may help to prevent the onset of type-2 diabetes. It can also help diabetics to control the condition, provided of course that it forms part of a healthy diet.

· Osteoporosis
Olive oil helps with the absorption of calcium, so it encourages the formation of strong, healthy bones. This means that it can help to prevent or relieve osteoporosis, but it’s also good to include olive oil in the diet of growing children so that they can develop healthy bones from the start.

· Digestive ailments
Olive oil is gentle on your stomach and can act as a laxative, which is great when you suffer from constipation. It also helps for indigestion, acid reflux, ulcers, gastritis and pancreatic function. Because it encourages bile drainage, it can help prevent gallbladder disease too.

· Cancer
Loaded with antioxidants, olive oil helps to fight free radicals that can cause cancer.

· Inflammation
Olive oil contains oleocanthal, a substance which acts as nature’s very own ibuprofen to reduce inflammation.

Olive oil is great for taking care of your skin as well. It can be used as a moisturizer and it is often an ingredient in cosmetics and soaps that are gentle on your skin. You can use the oil to treat dry winter skin, cracked heels and lips, nappy rash and eczema. It makes a great hot-oil treatment or serum for shiny hair and because it’s such a great lubricant, it’s a wonderful substitute for shaving cream. Add some aromatherapy oils and you have the perfect massage oil too!