Daily Archives: February 16, 2017

  • New study: For a Healthy Heart, add a little Olive Oil

    The effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet isn’t really up for debate anymore—at this point, it’s more a question of how to tweak it, and home in on what the active ingredients are. (For example, the MIND diet is a science-based variant of the Mediterranean diet, developed purely from what the research has shown.) Now, a new study looks at whether olive oil or nuts do more for cholesterol in people at high risk of heart disease, since both have been shown to have significant heart benefits in the past, and both contain healthy fats. The short answer is that olive oil seems to do more for cholesterol, but nuts are not without their own benefit.

    High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is considered the “good” cholesterol, since it clears less healthy forms of cholesterol from the blood. But it hasn’t been shown to function so well in people who are at higher risk of heart disease. “At the same time, small-scale trials have shown that consuming antioxidant-rich foods like virgin olive oil, tomatoes and berries improved HDL function in humans,” said study author Montserrat Fitó in a news release. “We wanted to test those findings in a larger, controlled study.” The authors underline that how well HDL functions is at least as important as how much of it you have.

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    The effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet isn’t really up for debate anymore—at this point, it’s more a question of how to tweak it, and home in on what the active ingredients are. (For example, the MIND diet is a science-based variant of the Mediterranean diet, developed purely... 
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  • Bad harvests in Europe and fake olive oil raise the question, are you getting the real deal?

    Olive oil is a staple ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes, yet the source for the highest quality olive oil these days may be thousands of miles from Europe and the Middle East.

    The countries best known for olive oil — Italy, Spain and Greece — have had bad harvests this year from unruly weather, Bloomberg recently reported, and the prices for olive oil have jumped in response. Meanwhile, California has been steadily increasing its olive oil manufacturing, and implemented strict standards for the oil. “More and more people are aware of the high standards we have and embracing locally produced products,” said Patricia Darragh, executive director of the California Olive Oil Council based in Berkeley, a trade association with a seal certification for local farmers.

    More domestic players are joining the U.S. olive oil production business, which has seen a 9.2% increase in revenue over the past five years, and demand and revenue are expected to continue to rise through 2021, though at a slower pace, according to research firm IBISWorld. California alone makes up more than 99% of U.S. olive oil production, according to the California Olive Oil Council.

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    Olive oil is a staple ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes, yet the source for the highest quality olive oil these days may be thousands of miles from Europe and the Middle East. The countries best known for olive oil — Italy, Spain and Greece — have had bad harvests this... 
    Read More →