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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

5 Things you should know about Oleocanthal in extra virgin olive oil

Have you heard of Oleocanthal?  Here are the basics about the extraordinary virtues of this olive Oil component. 

    --  Oleocanthal is an antioxidant discovered purely by chance when an American researcher Gary            Beauchamp was invited to participate in an olive oil symposium in Sicily in the  90’s.

-- Oleocanthal is what causes that sting, the peppery sensation in the back of your throat when you swallow olive oil neat. Oleocanthal comes from the purist of olive oil: if it stings a little the olive oil contains little oleocanthal but if it stings a lot, it contains a good deal of oleocanthal.

-- Oleocanthal has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties similar to ibuprofen. Oleocanthal like ibuprofen inhibits production of the two enzymes that cause arthritis. This is good news for people with arthritis when you think that over two million people in the US alone suffer from the disease.

        -- Research studies by Professor Amal Kaddoumi on mice show that oleocanthal leads to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by an accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ) and tau proteins in the brain. Her  experiments were conducted on mice, but she says “What we see in animals we can see in humans.”

-- These are only two health benefits of Oleocanthal. Researchers keep finding more health benefits every year. They say we should include a daily dose of extra virgin olive oil in our diet every year-- around three tablespoons say the experts.

The International Oleocanthal Society

The discovery of oleocanthal made such a buzz amongst researchers and health professional that they formed a society the International Oleocanthal Society(IOS)  comprising of scientists, nutritionists, dieticians and chefs meeting regularly not only for research but also to promote and raise awareness of how oleocanthal can make a difference.

The Society met in May this year. This is what Professor Kaddoumi reported:

The International Oleocanthal Society in Malaga 2017

 The meeting in Malaga was great and exciting for multiple reasons. First meeting and come to know new people who share similar interest as mine in relation to olive, EVOO and oleocanthal in addition to other phenolic compounds in EVOO. Also, it provided the opportunity to build collaboration with other scientists in this field.  What I found really interesting in this meeting is having olive oil. 

The authors of 7 Wonders of Olive Oil were delighted to receive a gold

diploma, an award for their work on Olive Oil. Thank you to the International Oleocanthal Society for this recognition.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Body Fat: Why Your Waistline is Important

Photo credit: Foter.com

How often do you hop out of the baths jump on the scales and don’t even glance at your waistline?

Perhaps you should pull in that belly button and have a closer look at your waist because according to medical experts, the waist is a good indicator of how much fat we are carrying in our bodies.
The report published by the British Journal of Cancer said that as older adults we have a higher risk of certain cancers and diabetes if our waists and hips start expanding over 102 cms (40 ins) for men and 88 cms( 35 ins) for women. 

Fats is a misunderstood word

Fat is not a bad word, it is however often misunderstood and a seemingly complex subject. Fats or lipids provide essential nutrients for fueling the body, but the danger is that too much fat, increases our risk of certain diseases, especially when we eat food containing too much saturated fats. 

Three main types of fatty acids

-- Saturated
-- Monounsaturated  
-- Polyunsaturated

The three are similar in that they have similar chemical structures and contain a chain of carbon atoms bonded with hydrogen atoms. However, all three have different roles to play in the human body and have complex differences in form and function.

How are these fats different?

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature because they are “saturated” with hydrogen molecules.
 Monounsaturated fats—often classed as good fats—are liquid at room temperature because they contain fewer hydrogen atoms.
 Polyunsaturated fats—also considered healthy fats and liquid at room temperature—are broken into two main types: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Choosing the right fats

Oleic acid is one of the main types of monounsaturated fatty acids. It can be found directly in olives and in olive oil, as well as in rapeseed oil, peanut oil, nuts, almonds, avocados, goose fat, meat, oily fish, and, to a lesser amount, processed meats. Products containing oleic acid carry the name “omega-9” on the food label. Oils containing monounsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature but start turning solid when chilled.

Understanding Fats

Monounsaturated fatty acids protect the heart, playing a fundamental role in preventing cardiovascular diseases. They affect the cholesterol levels in the blood and are known to reduce bad cholesterol or LDL, and to increase good cholesterol or HDL.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids commonly referred to as omega-3 and omega-6 acids, deserve special mention. The body does not produce these well-publicized fats; we can get them only from foods, mostly from plant food and certain seafood. That is why they are often called “essential fats.” Fatty acids make up 60% of the brain and are necessary for the correct functioning of our gray matter.

A trim waistline is not just attractive: it shows a positive attitude for choosing the right fats, for maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise. More important to know though is that by reducing our abdominal fat we are reducing our risk of cancer.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Gazpacho: Healthy, Nutritious and perfect for summer

Do you love watching friends and family tucking into a healthy nutritious dish you prepared? Do you appreciate fresh vegetables?

Then you must try Gazpacho, the Spanish soup made in advance and served cool. 

It’s summer time here, scorching hot and like you, the least time I spend in the kitchen in front of a hot stove the better.

I make my gazpacho with lots of tomatoes; tomatoes that are scientifically proven to be full of antioxidative properties: they contain lycopene as well as other carotenoids.
You might not have heard of carotenoids, but they are known to protect us against cancer as well as heart diseases. 

 You need three main vegetables, and, of course, wonderful healthy extra virgin olive oil for gazpacho.

Three main vegetables for Gazpacho

Make sure also that you wash your vegetables well; we very often don't spend enough time doing this.

You will need a good blender for this recipe; it will save you time and energy.

Here’s what's required  for 4 – 5 servings of Gazpacho;

About 8  medium sized  tomatoes cut into quarters 
1 clove garlic       
Four tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Two tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 peeled  cucumber (half   for the soup and the other half for garnishing) 
1 chopped  green pepper (Bell pepper)
1 small onion
½ teaspoon salt
A few drops of Tabasco sauce and a few basil leaves (optional)
Ice cubes or cold water

Simply put all the vegetables into your blender together with the vinegar and salt and blend until you get a nice smooth mix. Then add the extra virgin and Tabasco. Blend again for another couple of minutes and place the covered bowl in the fridge for a few hours.

Before serving, add some cold water or ice cubes – you don’t want your gazpacho to be too thick.
You can also serve some  chopped vegetables either mixed together or served separately (cucumber red and green  pepper)

Some homemade croutons complete this truly lovely soup.

                                          Bon appétit.