A Look at Superfoods: Olive Oil

Superfoods: Olive Oil

olive oil

A 16 week look at Superfoods


This Week’s Featured Superfood: Olive Oil

Olive oil has been used for thousands of years and is at  the heart of the well researched Mediterranean Diet, which is a heart healthy, longe life way of eating.  Though olive oil contains almost no vitamins or minerals it is still considered a superfood due to the tremendous amount of health benefits.  Olive is a mono-unsaturated fat, an Omega-6 fat, and though beneficial keep in mind it is calorically dense and should be used in moderation.

Olive is what we call a “right fat”, if you aren’t using olive oil it might be time for an oil change!

Trivia

  • The oldest Olive tree in the world is over 5000 years old and still produces fruit, it is on the island of Crete
  • The average lifespan for an Olive tree is 500 years
  • In 1774 Thomas Jefferson planted 1500 Olive stones at Monticello, but they never yielded as the climate was unfavorable
  • Thomas Jefferson said that the Olive tree contributes the most to the happiness of mankind.
  • The smoke point is 365 f
  • For frying use light olive oil
  • For medium heat it is ok to use extra virgin olive oil
  • For dressings and no heat use extra virgin olive oil for more flavor

What’s in it for me?

  • Extra Virgin olive oil is the most nutrient dense of the olive oils
  • Those who consume primarily olive oil and Omega-3 oils have lower blood pressure
  • Regular, moderate consumption of olive oil reduces inflammation
  • Studies show regular, moderate consumption of olive oil to have anti-cancer properties
  • Lowers LDL
  • Raises HDL
  • Keep the lining of the arteries smooth
  • Regular, moderate consumption is proven to reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Olive oil is rich in polyphenols which is the basis for many of the health benefits
  • Protects the lower digestive tract
  • Rich with antioxidants
  • Rich in Vitamin E which protects against pollutants, PMS, eye disorders, Alzheimer’s and Diabetes
  • Rich in Vitamin K which is key in regulating normal blood clotting, and may be helpful for bone health and reduce bone loss
  • Olive oil can increase feelings of satiety and fullness
  • Helps create more regular stools
  • A study in the American Journal of Nutrition found that just smelling olive oil helped in weight loss!

Learn more about olive oil at the California Olive Oil Council

 


Recipes

Canal House Classic House Vinaigrette,  I like to substitute balsamic vinegar or flavored Balsamic for variety

Olive Garden’s Capellini Pomodoro

The 10 Best Olive Oil Recipes, the Gaurdian

Orange Olive Oil Cake  (for a treat)

Chimichurri

One of our favorite ways to consume olive oil is with a fresh-baked whole grain bread and dip it right into the oil.  Yum!


What is a Superfood?

A superfood is defined as a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being – Mcmillian Dictionary.

Dr. William Sears, in his book Prime Time Health, describes Superfoods as:

  • Nutrient Dense
  • Nutrients that have proven benefits
  • Made by nature, not a factory
  • Taste good & satisfying
  • May be able to be prepared in a variety of ways
  • Contains no ingredients harmful to health

While we receive vitamins, minerals, proteins, and essential fats from our foods, some foods have been proven to provide extra health benefits, these foods are the superfoods. They have properties that  may be anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and anti-Alzheimer, lower highs, and raise lows in our body.

Let’s be clear, when I say superfood I do not mean magical foods that cure-all, nor do I  mean a diet consisting of one food, like the old “Grapefruit Diet”.  The truth is, that these foods work best when part of a healthy, whole food, plant-based diet full of variety and by diet I mean lifestyle eating habits, not a short-term solution.  Just eat food that rots, but eat it before it does!


Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_oil

http://epochproducts.com/blog/the-health-benefits-of-extra-virgin-olive-oil/

https://www.cooc.com/what-does-extra-virgin-mean/

Sears, William MD, Sears, Martha, RN – Prime-Time Health 2010 Little Brown and Company

DeWitt, Dave, The Founding Foodies, 2010, Sourcebooks

 

Roasted Salmon Review – Hello Fresh

Review: Roasted Salmon with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

and Green Beans – Hello Fresh

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The Link:  ROASTED SALMON WITH BURST CHERRY TOMATOES AND GREEN BEANS – HELLO FRESH

Time:  35 Minutes

Ease:  Moderate

Review:  I found this recipe through Hello Fresh, one of the popular subscription meal box services available online.  I have not subscribed to the service, but I like the recipe options they have available.  They seem to be pretty healthy and fresh.

The flavors of this dish were great and overall it was pretty easy to make.  The biggest issue to watch is that there are several steps and it can be a little challenging to feel that everything is running efficiently.  If you subscribe to the service each ingredient is exactly what you need which would help with organization in the kitchen.

Here are few tips:

  1.  Olive is is a great choice for any dish, it is a monounsaturated fatty acid and can lower LDL and have an impact on blood pressure.  It is also anti-inflammatory and can help keep the lining of the arteries smooth.  Watch your temperature as you cook, cooking beyond the smoke point can cause the oil to lose its health benefits and may produce chemicals that could be harmful.  The higher the quality of olive oil the higher the smoke point.
  2. This recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon of butter and new science has found that saturated fat isn’t as bad as we thought, but if you are worried about it, you can replace it with olive oil or lower the amount and mix with olive oil.
  3. When you pull the Salmon out of the oven you may see white goo on the top.  No worries, it is albumin, which is protein that comes to the surface from the muscle fibers.  It is harmless coagulated protein and even the most perfectly cooked fish is prone to it.  Try not to over cook as this will make it worse.  To learn more visit America’s Test Kitchen.
  4. Watch the potatoes.  I had small potatoes, but needed more that 15 minutes for them to become tender.
  5. My biggest struggle with this recipe was the size of my pot.  I used a large pot to blanch the green beans and boil the potatoes then tried to use the same pot to cook the tomatoes and crisp the green beans in.  There was not enough room in my pot to spread things out enough and I suggest using 1 pot and 1 large bottomed pan.
  6. Watching your carbs or fat?  This dish may scare you both away, coming in at 41 grams carbs and 34 grams fats, but keep in mind these are “right” or “good” carbs and fats.  Meaning they are complex carbohydrates and more Omega 3, healthy fats than other fats.  Studies also show that when you combine carbs with fat and protein it slows down the process of converting the carbs into sugars. Plus there is a whopping 41 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber! So enjoy this nice heart, brain, colon, inflammation friendly meal!

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