Olive oil comes from olives, the fruit of the olive tree. Olives are a traditional crop of the Mediterranean region. People make olive oil by pressing whole olives.
People use olive oil in cooking, cosmetics, medicine, soaps, and as a fuel for traditional lamps. Olive oil originally came from the Mediterranean, but today, it is popular around the world.
In the diet, people preserve olives in olive oil or salted water. They eat them whole or chopped and added to pizzas and other dishes.
They can use olive oil a dip for bread, for drizzling on pasta, in cooking, or as a salad dressing. Some people consume it by the spoonful for medicinal purposes.
Many studies have looked at the health benefits of olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil, which is the best quality oil available, is rich in antioxidants, which help prevent cellular damage caused by molecules called free radicals.
Free radicals are substancesTrusted Source that the body produces during metabolism and other processes. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals.
If too many free radicals build up, they can cause oxidative stress. This can lead to cell damage, and it may play a role in the development of certain diseases, including certain types of cancer.