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.
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 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.
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.
Here are the links to order The 7 Wonders of Olive Oil.