Daily Archives: October 2, 2014

  • The fat in olive oil is beneficial for failing hearts

    Scientists at the University of Illinois, in Chicago, have found that the fat in olive oil kick-starts failing hearts.

    Olive oil may reverse heart failure, scientists believe, after finding it helped diseased muscle to pump blood more effectively.
    The health-boosting properties of a Mediterranean Diet are well known, but until now, it has been unclear what was driving the benefits.
    Now researchers at the University of Illinois have discovered that oleate, the common fat in olive oil, helps failing hearts to use body fat as fuel.
    A healthy heart absorbs fat to keep pumping. But when the heart is damaged it can no longer process or store fat and so it becomes starved of energy.
    Not only does the heart no longer have the fuel it needs to work properly, but the toxic fat is left in the body where it can clog up arteries.

    Oleate appears to kick-start genes which produce enzymes which can break down fat so it can be absorbed by the heart.
    “These genes are often suppressed in failing hearts,” said Douglas Lewandowski of the University of Illinois in Chicago.
    “So the fact that we can restore beneficial gene expression, as well as more balanced fat metabolism, plus reduce toxic fat, just by supplying hearts with oleate is a very exciting finding.
    “This gives more proof to the idea that consuming healthy fats can have a significantly positive effect on cardiac health.”
    Around 750,000 people are living with heart failure in Britain, with 27,000 new cases each year.

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    Scientists at the University of Illinois, in Chicago, have found that the fat in olive oil kick-starts failing hearts. Olive oil may reverse heart failure, scientists believe, after finding it helped diseased muscle to pump blood more effectively. The health-boosting properties... 
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  • Jamie Oliver's Guide to become an oil expert

    Is there anything worse than a badly dressed salad? Or that acrid, burnt aftertaste that comes with food that’s been cooked in the wrong oil? Those black flecks that form in the bottom of a frying pan are a tell-tale sign that maybe you used the wrong oil for the job. How do you keep track though? In the early 2000s Jamie Oliver had us all glugging olive oil into everything like there was no tomorrow, and it’s true those Mediterranean folk know a thing or two about how to simply dress a dish. Lately though, there’s been a huge influx of other oils on the market – coconut, avocado, and all sorts of nuts and seeds. But do we need another expensive oil in the pantry? And if so, what on earth do we use it for?

    There are a few things to consider when buying oil, and working out what to use it for: health benefits, fat content, heating temperature, and flavour.

    olive oil dressed salad

    The endurance of the olive
    Jamie Oliver has a lot to answer for, and it was his smiling face cheerily adding glug after glug of this Italian staple to his dishes that has surely partly accounted for its enormous popularity in Western countries. It’s good, undoubtedly so. There are different kinds though, and that’s worth bearing in mind.

    Extra virgin Olive oil, or EVOO, should not really ever be thrown in a hot frying pan. It’s rich in flavour, and usually pretty dark in colour. You can do olive oil tastings much like you can for wine – different varieties of olive lead to a vast range of flavours. It’s the highest quality, and most expensive olive oil on the market, and shouldn’t have additives – it’s simply the pressed juice of the olives. EVOO is great for using in a salad dressing, having on a table to dip fresh bread into, or simply drizzled over greens.

    The lighter varieties of olive oil can withstand heat better. The lighter olive oils are closer to your stock standard vegetable oils, and thus sautéing, light frying, and roasting vegetables are all appropriate.

    Let’s hear it for rice bran
    Rice bran oil rode a wave of popularity once people started getting clued up to the fact that maybe we shouldn’t be putting EVOO on absolutely everything. Rice bran is a nice and neutral cooking oil. It’s relatively low in saturated fat, with little to no flavour, and a high tolerance for temperature. You’ll get crispy roast potatoes with this one; even fish and chip shops are ditching the lard for this much healthier alternative.

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    Is there anything worse than a badly dressed salad? Or that acrid, burnt aftertaste that comes with food that’s been cooked in the wrong oil? Those black flecks that form in the bottom of a frying pan are a tell-tale sign that maybe you used the wrong oil for the job. How... 
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