Thursday, February 2, 2017

February 1-7 is Women’s Heart Week: 5 Things Women should know about heart disease.

1.       Heart disease is a number one killer of women. World Heart Foundations says cardiovascular disease (CVD) is responsible for two million premature deaths per year. CVD kills more women than cancer, tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and malaria combined. 

2. According to doctors, women do not have the same symptoms as men, they don’t have the classic chest pains, but instead they feel fatigue, nausea, indigestion and shortness of breath. As women we have to take more care with our health: this means reducing our risk factors.

3. Women have the same risk factors as men – smoking, diabetes, cholesterol and family history. On top of that women have additional factors as well; notably menopause, pregnancy obesity, and stress.

4. Broken Heart Symptom is a recently recognized heart condition brought on by stressful situations. This is a temporary situation suffered mostly by women caused by a sudden surge of stress hormones recognized by shortness of breath and chest pain.

5. Scientific studies carried out over the years show that adhering to a Mediterranean diet can reduce our risk of cardiac disease.

Understanding Heart Disease Today 

The celebrities in their stunning red dresses parade elegantly down the runway. They were there to present the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” Red Dress collection, a colorful event which took place at the department store Macy’s in February 2016.

The gathering of top models, designers, and celebrities wanted to show their support and to help raise awareness of cardiovascular disease, an illness that affects 44 million women in the United States. Wearing red for this disease is the obvious choice because red stands out and is the color associated with our hearts.

Women suffer more than men from diseases of the heart, and the only way to bring down these high figures is by education. The American Heart Association asks women everywhere to wear red every first Friday in February; it is a ritual they say is beginning to bear fruit, as 90% of women have made at least one healthy behavior change. In the UK, the statistics are also high; the country observes National Heart Month in February as well. 

With more heart awareness taking place worldwide, women are now checking their cholesterol, increasing their exercise, and making lifestyle changes to prevent cardiac events from happening

We’d all like our blood to be freely flowing through our bodies, but blood vessels can sometimes get obstructed, and when they do, they can wreak havoc. If blood flow to the brain is not progressing correctly, the body suffers a stroke—a brain attack that disrupts the abilities related to the affected part of the brain; it can come on suddenly, causing numbness, sudden confusion, and dizziness. 

Strokes occur when a clot (a fatty deposit) blocks the artery in the brain. Equally serious is a heart attack, which causes damage to the heart’s muscles when vital oxygenated blood cannot get to those tissues.

This, too, is mainly due to a blood clot, blocking the coronary artery supplying blood to the heart. We are familiar with blood clots; we can see the sticky blood cells appear whenever we injure ourselves and form a scab over the cut. That is how the body responds to injury. However, what we do not want are those clots in our blood vessels.

An extract from Chapter 7 of the book  7 WONDERS OF OLIVE OIL

Friday, January 6, 2017


The 7 Wonders of Olive Oil will be released Tuesday, January 10,  2017


A beautiful French woman, Jeanne Calment, lived to be 122 years old. Toward the end of her life, when asked the secret of her longevity and her relatively youthful appearance, she had two words: “olive oil.” This supercentenarian French lady was alert right until the end of her life.

    Olive oil, our gift from Mother Nature, has always been praised by dietitians, nutritionists, and medical researchers worldwide. They say, “Olive oil is good for your health and well-being.” Today, consumers are more health conscious. More curious than ever, they want to understand the medical research behind the health benefits, they need to know how they should be taking this monounsaturated fat, and, most importantly, they want to understand why they should include extra-virgin olive oil in their daily diets. 

Countless studies on the different health benefits of olive oil have been discussed over the years, and scientists are constantly discovering more. We could not include all these research projects, but what we discuss in The 7 Wonders of Olive Oil is based on interviews with the researchers involved in the studies, published research carried out in laboratory studies, randomized clinical trials, and observational studies. 

Without being too academic, we describe health conditions and show the extraordinary work and positive results that scientists have achieved so far.

    In order to fully grasp the work of these researchers, consumers need to understand olive oil. What you’ll find in 7 Wonders—in addition to the astounding health benefits of olive oil—is a comprehensive guide to extra-virgin olive oil, how it’s made, and the different types of olive oil available, as well as tips on storing and cooking.

Excellent olive oil comes from excellent fruit. This is one of the first things we as olive oil enthusiasts have come to appreciate more and more. We also realize that even though olive oil is one of the oldest products in history, not many people understand the basics of olive oil production, what a well-balanced extra-virgin olive oil should taste like, or, equally important, the practical side of buying, storing, and cooking with olive oil. This book answers all of these questions.

 Three major sections:


Part I

Part 1  looks at the history of the Mediterranean culture, followed by a description of olive oil processing. It covers harvesting and milling, looking at some of the choices modern-day producers have to face—questions such as when the best time to pick the olives is and whether or not producers should filter the oil. We conclude this section by discussing the complicated business of fats and how olive oil is different from other oils. 

Part 11

  Part II is a more in-depth study of the healthful characteristics of olive oil. It describes the research into the nutritional, medicinal, and cosmetic values of olive oil. We show you through scientific discoveries that olive oil is a therapeutic agent fighting diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s and why it is so important to incorporate this gift from Mother Nature into our daily diets for health and beauty. Dr. Oreste Gualillo, one of the scientists whose findings contributed to this book, sums up the value of this research: 

 Natural products have been used for thousands of years for the treatment of many diseases and pathological conditions. Thus, nature is a vast source of bioactive molecules from terrestrial and marine environments. Many of these natural products have gone on to become current drug candidates. The era of modern pharmacology is the result of man experimenting by trial and error for hundreds of centuries through palatability trials or untimely deaths, searching for available foods for the treatment of diseases. 

What he means by this is that Nature has been providing the necessary ingredients for healthful living since the beginning. We are just using the elements that she offers to us to find healing.

Part 111

In Part III, we offer you practical advice and information to help you figure out what it is that you should look for when purchasing olive oil. Food magazines and cookbooks say you should be using olive oil in the kitchen, but the choices in the supermarkets these days are overwhelming. As consumers, you want to understand the tricky business of labeling, especially when olive oil quality and authenticity are being questioned. This final section explains why you should not reject oil just because it causes a sting at the back of your throat and how to store your oil once you buy it.        
The olive oil world has changed over the years. Olive oil keeps making the news, attracting the attention of people from all walks of life—from health-conscious baby boomers to nutritionists and medical experts.
 “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” said Hippocrates, fifth-century Greek physician and philosopher, considered by some the “father of medicine.” How right he was! But today, we are afflicted by a plethora of noncommunicable diseases, the leading cause of death worldwide and a new challenge for all global health policies. If only we could put Hippocrates’s advice into practice.

More than anything, we want this book to be inspiring, to show you that the humble olive fruit produces a most powerful natural oil that can make a significant difference to our health.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

To Fry or not to fry with olive oil?

What do you know about Smoke Point and Olive Oil?

Cooking allows us to transform basic ingredients into something wonderful using heat. A skilled cook has learned how to improve and diversify the flavor of his dishes; he knows for example how important it is to have low heat and the right technique to produce fluffy scrambled eggs.  A talented health conscious cook, however, will want to get the best nutritional benefits possible and that means knowing about smoke point and stability of cooking oil when frying food.

You might have heard about smoke point and stability of cooking oil but what does it mean?  

Smoke point refers to the temperature at which the fat changes its chemical compound, gives off smoke and becomes toxic. This breakdown of fats means that the oil has lost a lot of its flavor. The smoke point is related not only to the fatty acid content but also to the presence of free fatty acids and the acidity level. What you should know is that refined oils are said to be more stable because the refining process that manufacturers employ eliminates these elements.
Stability in cooking, refer to the resistance of oil or fat to high temperatures. Olive oil is stable oil because it has a high smoke point.

So what happens when you fry?

All fats, when subjected to high temperatures (180° C or 356° F for most olive oils), undergo changes to their molecular structure. At first, they lose their organoleptic and nutritional qualities, but as the temperature rises, they deteriorate, oxidize, and finally end up being bad for our health. Virgin olive oil reaches its smoke point at 190° C (374° F) on average, but the fresher and less acidic it is, the more stable, with the smoke point sometimes reaching 207° C (404° F).
Interestingly, the smoke point of refined sunflower oil is 232° C (450° F), the same as refined soy oil and peanut oils. Admittedly, they have higher smoke points than olive oil, but that is because they have been refined and have undergone a chemical extraction process which has also eliminated all of their health benefits. Extra-virgin olive oil, by contrast, is a pure, natural fruit juice.

When you fry with olive oil, a crust forms around the food, providing a sort of protection envelope around the food; this means that the oil does not seep in. At the same time, it makes the food crunchy and tasty.

This is an excerpt from 7 Wonders of Olive Oil to be released in January. 
The chapter “Cooking with Olive Oil” compares olive oil with other cooking oils especially when frying. It answers the question “Is it safe to fry with olive oil?