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Olive Oil Vs. Hemp Seed Oil

author image Christine Garvin
Christine Garvin is a certified nutrition educator and holds a Master of Arts in holistic health education. She is co-editor of Brave New Traveler and founder/editor of Living Holistically... with a sense of humor. When she is not out traveling the world, she is busy writing, doing yoga and performing hip-hop and bhangra.
Olive Oil Vs. Hemp Seed Oil
Olive oil is an alternative to butter for dipping bread. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Whether you use oils to cook with, or to drizzle over salads and soups, the right oils add good fats which are necessary for many of the body's functions. Olive oil and hemp oil are two oils that you can find in their unprocessed state, meaning you get the most nutrients available from each food. Though there are differences between the oils, including each in your diet may help your health on several levels.


Both olive oil and hemp seed oil are green in color, but their taste varies. In aromatherapist Roberta Wilson's book, "Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for Vibrant Health and Beauty," she notes that olive oil has a vegetable-like flavor reminiscent of olives, while hemp seed oil tastes nutty and a bit earthy. You hould purchase both types of oils "cold-pressed," so you know their volatile omega fatty acids were not damaged.

Essential Fatty Acids

The essential fatty acid, or EFA, makeup of olive oil and hemp seed oil differ, though both are important sources of these good fats. Olive oil is mostly a monounsaturated fat, which means it is high in the EFA omega-9. Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, is a more balanced oil when it comes to EFAs, containing a 3-to-1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Since very few foods contain omega-3s, which are important for brain and skin function, hemp seed oil may be a beneficial addition to your diet.


One of the big differences between olive oil and hemp seed oil is that one can be used for cooking while the other cannot. Olive oil is promoted by many health experts, including Andrew Weil, MD in his book, "Eating Well for Optimum Health," for daily consumption in sauteed vegetables or meats. Hemp oil is not good for cooking, notes Naturopathic doctor Linda Page. It should not be heated above 120 degrees F, or the omega-3s in the oil will be damaged.

Skin Benefits

Olive oil and hemp seed oil are beneficial to skin both internally and externally, but in different ways, notes Wilson. Olive oil soothes and lubricates the skin, making it a good external facial oil for all skin types. Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, may be more helpful to use externally if you suffer from dermatitis, eczema and swelling, as it has anti-inflammatory properties. Internally, hemp oil may also be beneficial for arthritis, joint problems and sciatica.

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