Food from the Quran: Olive Oil

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things. (Quran 24:35)

IBN AL QAYYIM, HEALING WITH THE MEDICINE OF THE PROPHET

Ibn Al Qayyim, in Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet, writes about the many benefits of olive oil, including.

  • It helps against poisons
  • It works as a laxative
  • It rids the body of worms
  • It strengthens the gums
  • Olive leaves help against skin infections, sores, septic ulcers, and hives.
  • All kinds of olive oil soften the skin and slow the aging process

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF OLIVE OIL

Strangely, in some parts of the world, high fat consumption is leading to many chronic and degrative illnesses such as asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer and arthritis; while in other parts of the world, where fat consumption is also high, there is a much lower risk of developing these conditions. 1

Why would this be? Well, research is showing that it is the type of fat eaten that is important.

In areas where a lot of olive oil is consumed, the typical ‘Mediterranean’ diet, the risk of developing these conditions is greatly reduced.

Research is confirming what Muslims have known for 1400+ years – that olive oil and olive compounds have many health benefits. 

‘Eat the zait and use it as an ointment, because it is produced by a blessed tree’  At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah

OLIVE OIL AND INFLAMMATION

Olive has natural anti-inflammatory compounds, among them oleocanthal.

A study on the anti-inflammatory benefits of olive oil stated, ‘Virgin olive oil contains numerous phenolic compounds that exert potent anti-inflammatory actions. Of interest to this paper is the recently discovered phenolic compound oleocanthal. Oleocanthal is contained in virgin olive oil and possesses similar anti-inflammatory properties to ibuprofen.’ 2

OLIVE OIL AND LOWERING THE RISK OF STROKE HEART DISEASE

Studies showed that those who consumes olive oil were at a lower risk of having a stroke. 3. The high antioxidant levels of olive oil may also lower the risk of heart disease. 1

OLIVE OIL AND ATHEROSCLEROSIS

By eating olive oil rather than a lot of saturated animal fat, we can prevent the oxidation of cholesterol and thus help prevent atherosclerosis. 1

OLIVE OIL AND BLOOD PRESSURE

When studied, there was a significant inverse association between the Mediterranean diet score and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, i.e. those who ate the Mediterranean diet has a lower blood pressure. Eating olive oil, vegetables, and fruit was significantly inversely associated with both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Conversely, meat and meat products, cereals and ethanol intake have a positive association with arterial blood pressure, i.e. the more cereals and meat products eaten, the higher the blood pressure. 5

In one study, slightly reducing saturated fat intake, and adding extra-virgin olive oil to the diet significantly lowered the quantity of blood pressure medication needed by hypertensive patients. 6

OLIVE OIL AND DIABETES

Studies with diabetic patients showed that those who ate olive oil with every meal gained better blood sugar control and also had lower triglycerides. Interestingly, the results were better than those test subjects who ate lower-fat meals and without the olive oil. 1

OLIVES AND OLIVE OIL AND ASTHMA, ARTHRITIS AND CANCER

Because eating healthy oils is important in lowering inflammation, olive oil intake has been shown to help with both arthritis and asthma symptoms. .It has also been shown that women who eat olive oil have a lower risk of breast cancer. 1

HOW TO INCLUDE OLIVE OIL IN YOUR DIET

  • In salad dressings
  • Drizzled over food
  • Mixed with herbs as a dip
  • As a marinade
  • Blend with olives to make a dip
  • Blend with chickpeas and tahini to make hummus

Don’t miss out on the previous posts from the Food from the Quran Series, featuring pomegranatewater and figs

** Please note, Ibn Al Qayyim’s medical advice is not only based on hadith. Any specific hadith will always be referenced as such. 


References

  1. Murray, M. (2005). The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.
  2. Retrieved from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21443487
  3. Retrieved from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24775425
  4. Retrieved from:http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1200303
  5. Retrieved from:http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/80/4/1012.long
  6. Retrieved from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10737284

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