BIO CRETAN OLIVE OIL – CRITIDA
Info about Olive Oil
The greatest exponent of monounsaturated fat is olive oil, and it is a prime component of the Mediterranean Diet. Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is – freshly pressed from the fruit.
The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of ant oxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels. No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil – mainly oleic acid.
Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil’s protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation
Studies have shown that people who consumed 25 millilitres (mL) – about 2 tablespoons – of virgin olive oil daily for 1 week showed less oxidation of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of antioxidant compounds, particularly phenols, in the blood.
But while all types of olive oil are sources of monounsaturated fat, EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil, from the first pressing of the olives, contains higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenols, because it is less processed.
Olive oil is clearly one of the good oils, one of the healing fats. Most people do quite well with it since it does not upset the critical omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and most of the fatty acids in olive oil are actually an omega-9 oil which is monounsaturated.
Olive oil and colon cancer
Spanish researchers suggest that including olive oil in your diet may also offer benefits in terms of colon cancer prevention. Their study results showed that rats fed diet supplemented with olive oil had a lower risk of colon cancer than those fed safflower oil-supplemented diets. In fact, the rats that received olive oil had colon cancer rates almost as low as those fed fish oil, which several studies have already linked to a reduction in colon cancer risk.
Blood Sugar Controller
Diabetics or those at risk for diabetes are advised to combine a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet with olive oil. Studies show this combination is superior at controlling blood sugar levels compared to a diet that consists entirely of low-fat meals. Adding olive oil is also linked to lower triglyceride levels. Many diabetics live with high triglyceride levels which put them at risk for heart disease.
Better flavour Better living Extra Virgin! (???)
Homer called the Olive Oil “liquid gold.” In ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed it all over their body. Its mystical glow illuminated history. Drops of it seeped into the bones of dead saints and martyrs through holes in their tombs. Olive oil has been more than mere food to the peoples of the Mediterranean: it has been medicinal, magical, an endless source of fascination and wonder and the fountain of great wealth and power. The olive tree, symbol of abundance, glory and peace, gave its leafy branches to crown the victorious in friendly games and bloody war, and the oil of its fruit has anointed the noblest of heads throughout history. Olive crowns and olive branches, emblems of benediction and purification, were ritually offered to deities and powerful figures: some were even found in Tutankhamen’s tomb.
Cultivating the Sacred
Olive culture has ancient roots. Fossilized remains of the olive tree’s ancestor were found near Livorno, in Italy, dating from twenty million years ago, although actual cultivation probably did not occur in that area until the fifth century B.C. Olives were first cultivated in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean, in the region known as the “fertile crescent,” and moved westwards over the millennia.
Beginning in 5000 B.C. and until 1400 B.C., olive cultivation spread from Crete to Syria, Palestine, and Israel; commercial networking and application of new knowledge then brought it to Southern Turkey, Cyprus, and Egypt. Until 1500 B.C., Greece — particularly Mycenae — was the area most heavily cultivated. With the expansion of the Greek colonies, olive culture reached Southern Italy and Northern Africa in the eighth century B.C., and then spread into Southern France. Olive trees were planted in the entire Mediterranean basin under Roman rule. According to the historian Pliny, Italy had “excellent olive oil at reasonable prices” by the first century A.C, “the best in the Mediterranean,” he maintained.
In the land of the Hebrews, King Solomon and King David placed great importance on the cultivation of olive trees, King David even had guards watching over the olive groves and warehouses, ensuring the safety of the trees and their precious oil.
Olive trees dominated the rocky Greek countryside and became pillars of Hellenic society, they were so sacred that those who cut one down were condemned to death or exile. In ancient Greece and Rome, olive oil was the hottest commodity, advanced ships were built for the sole purpose of transporting it from Greece to trading posts around the Mediterranean.
The belief that olive oil conferred strength and youth was widespread. In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, it was infused with flowers and with grasses to produce both medicine and cosmetics; a list was excavated in Mycenae enumerating the aromatics (fennel, sesame, celery, watercress, mint, sage, rose, and juniper among others) added to olive oil in the preparation of ointments.
Olive trees have an almost titanic resistance, a vital force which renders them nearly immortal. Despite harsh winters and burning summers, despite truncations, they continue to grow, proud and strong reaching towards the sky, bearing fruit that nourishes and heals inspires and amazes. Temperate climactic conditions, characterized by warm dry summers and rainy winters, favour plentiful harvests; stone, drought, silence, and solitude are the ideal habitat for the majestic olive tree. Italy and Spain are now the most prolific producers of olive oil, although Greece is still very active. There are about thirty varieties of olives growing in Italy today, and each yields particular oil with its own unique characteristics.
Sun, stone, drought, silence and solitude: these are the five ingredients that, according to Italian folk traditions, create the ideal habitat for the olive tree. We treasure extra-virgin olive oil for its nutritional and salutary virtues. La Cucina Italiana reports that extra-virgin olive oil is the most digestible of the edible fats: it helps to assimilate vitamins A, D and K; it contains so-called essential acids that cannot be produced by our own bodies; it slows down the aging process; and it helps bile, liver and intestinal functions. It is also valued for its culinary virtues and organoleptic properties as well: flavour (sapor), bouquet (aroma), and colour (colour)
Climate, soil, variety of tree (cultivar) and time of harvest account for the different organoleptic properties of different oils. Certain extra-virgin olive oils are blends of varieties of olives; others are made from one cultivar. The European Community gives the following parameters:
- Extra-virgin olive oil with perfect taste is oil of the highest quality; it has a minimum organoleptic rating of 6.5 out of 10, low acidity (1% or less), and is untreated.
- Olive oil has a minimum organoleptic rating of 5.5, a maximum of 2% acidity and is untreated.
- The production of all other olive oils involves treatments.
Extra-virgin olive oil is produced in all regions of Italy, except Piedmont and Val D’Aosta. The leading producers are Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria, and Apulia. Tuscany produces such a great assortment of extra virgin oils that many do not resemble each other. In Umbria, it is so widely produced that it would be hard to imagine the landscape without the abundance of olive trees. Apulia is home to an impressive one-third of Italy’s olive trees.
The price of extra-virgin olive oil varies greatly. Two factors are influential: where the olives are grown and which harvesting methods are implemented. Certain locations yield more bountiful harvests; consequently their oil is sold for less. Olive trees planted near the sea can produce up to 20 times more fruit than those planted inland, in hilly areas like Tuscany. It is in these land-locked areas that the olive trees’ habitat is pushed to the extreme; if the conditions were just a little more severe, the trees would not survive. Extra-virgin oils produced from these trees have higher organoleptic scores.
|Extra virgin olive oil||Extra virgin olive oil is the first press from olives & the highest grade olive oil. It has zero defects & an extremely low acidity of no more than 0,8%. It has a superior taste & a rich, fruity flavor.||Virgin & extra virgin oils are best uncooked in salads, drizzling over food (such as pasta) & for dipping breads. It is also the best oil to use in stews & casseroles. It adds harmony to dishes.|
|Organic Extra virgin olive oil||Extra virgin olive oil from organic farming, free of chemical agents – extra viring olive oil produced from olives that have been grown and harvested in an organic manner. The growing, harvesting, manufacturing and packaging has been reviewed by an accredited organic certifying agency, and they document that every step in the process has been up to par|
|Virgin olive oil||Virgin olive oil must have a good taste. It is slightly lower in quality than extra virgin olive oil; it has defects from 0 to 2,5 & has acidity of less than 2%.||Virgin & extra virgin oils are best uncooked in salads, drizzling over food (such as pasta) & for dipping breads. It is also the best oil to use in stews & casseroles. It adds harmony to dishes.|
|Ordinary virgin olive oil||Defects of 2,5 – 6 and contains no more than 3,3% acidity.||Suitable for frying & baking with.|
|Lampante oil||More than 3,3%. It is intended for refining or technical use & is not fit for human consumption. technical use & is not fit for human consumption.||Not fit for human consumption.|
|Olive oil||This is a blend of pure olive oils to add flavor & refined olive oils. No more than 1% acidity.||These oils withstand heat well & are suitable for frying & baking with.|
|Crude olive pomade oil||Intended for refining for either human consumption or technical use. It must have an acidity of less than 1,5%.|
|Refined olive pomade oil||Crude oil which has been refined.||Suitable for frying & baking with.|
With all of the excitement around here ramping up to the Festival of Chefs, I find myself thinking about food possibilities almost constantly. So it was no surprise that I ended up meandering around Cheese yesterday, basket in hand, with a very specific mission:
Because it’s Spring. Because it’s good. Just because. I decided to call this a Zen salad because of the intricate balance of flavours and textures you can’t help but meditate on as you chew. It starts with the feta– humble though it is– the right feta can transform a pretty good salad into something unbelievably delicious.
It so happens that Cheese has such a feta. Made from Goat’s milk and imported from Greece, it has a soft crumble and a creamy tang that is quite pleasant. The suggestion on the wrapper was to try using it in place of chevre or cream cheese.
Olives, too, are of vital importance. It is hard to miss the attractive display of assorted olives at the front counter. I went with the pitted kalamatas. Meaty, tasty little things that I added liberally to the salad. This is the advantage of making a Greek salad yourself. What is up with this whole “one olive per salad” business so commonly practiced? I suppose this is fine when you don’t like them– but that is not me. I ate half of them before the salad was even made.
The other factor that made this an above average dish was the simple, aromatic dressing– a good extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice and chopped fresh dill.
1- Protects Heart Health
Studies have found that high monounsaturated fat diets lower LDL cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides better than lower-fat, higher-carb diets do. Thanks to powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols, extra virgin oil is considered an anti-inflammatory food and cardiovascular protector. When someone’s immune system essentially begins to fight her own body as a result of a poor diet, stress or other factors, inflammatory responses are triggered that lead to dangerous, disease-causing inflammation.
The purpose of inflammation is to protect us against illnesses and repair the body when needed, but chronic inflammation is extremely harmful to arterial health and linked to heart disease, autoimmune diseases and more. Extra virgin olive oil helps reverse inflammatory along with age- and disease-related changes to the heart and blood vessels, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. Research shows olive oil is beneficial for lowering hypertension because it makes nitric oxide more bioavailable, which keeps arteries dilated and clear.
The protective effects of a Mediterranean-style diet rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) from olive oil have been shown in many studies, with some finding that this type of higher-fat diet is capable of decreasing the risk of cardiac death by 30 percent and sudden cardiac death by 45 percent!
2 – Helps Fight Cancer
According to a 2004 study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, olives and olive oil contain antioxidants in abundance. They are some of the best high antioxidant foods. Olives (especially those that have not been subjected to high-heat processes) contain acteosides, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol and phenyl propionic acids. Both olives and olive oil contain substantial amounts of other compounds deemed to be anticancer agents (e.g., squalene and terpenoids) as well as the peroxidation-resistant lipid oleic acid.
Researchers feel that it’s probable that high olive and olive oil consumption in southern Europe represents an important contribution to the beneficial effects of cancer prevention and health in the Mediterranean diet.
3 – Helps with Weight Loss and Obesity Prevention
Eating plenty of healthy fats is a key element in controlling excess insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels, makes us gain weight, and keeps the weight packed on despite us cutting calories and exercising more. Fats are satiating and help reduce hunger, cravings and overeating. This is one reason why numerous studies have found that diets low in fat don’t result in weight loss or weight maintenance as easily or often as balanced, higher-fat diets do.
After reviewing five trials including a total of 447 individuals, researchers from University Hospital Basel in Switzerland found that individuals assigned to higher-fat, low-carbohydrate diets lost more weight than individuals randomized to low-fat diets. There were no differences in blood pressure levels between the two groups, but triglyceride and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol values changed more favorably in individuals assigned to the diets higher in fat!
Because diets with ample amounts of healthy fats are more satisfying, people are much more likely to be able to stick with them. A 2002 study published in the Women’s Health Journal, for example, found that an olive oil-enriched diet brought about greater weight loss than a lower-fat diet in an eight-week comparison. Following the eight weeks, the participants also overwhelmingly chose the olive oil-enriched diet for at least six months of the follow-up period.
4 – Supports Brain Health
The brain is largely made up of fatty acids, and we require a moderately high level on a daily basis to perform tasks, regulate our moods and think clearly. Like other sources of healthy fats, olive oil is considered a brain food that improves focus and memory.
Olive oil helps fight age-related cognitive decline because it protects against inflammation, oxidative stress and ADDLs, proteins that are toxic to the brain that can trigger dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
5 – Fights Mood Disorders and Depression
Healthy fats, including olive oil, have hormone-balancing, anti-inflammatory effects that can prevent neurotransmitter dysfunction. Low-fat diets are often linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety. Mood or cognitive disorders can occur when the brain doesn’t get a sufficient amount of “happy hormones” like serotonin or dopamine, important chemical messengers that are necessary for mood regulation, getting good sleep and thought-processing.
One 2011 study conducted by the University of Las Palmas in Spain found that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat intake had an inverse relationship with depression risk. At the same time, trans-fat intake and depression risk had a linearrelationship, showing that higher trans-fat consumption and lower PUFA and MUFA could up the chances of battling mood disorders and treating depression.
6 – Great for Boostig Skin Health
Diets high in healthy sources of fat can help counter the harmful effects to our skin from exposure to toxicity, free radicals, UV light damage, and inflammation-causing poor diets or food allergies.
As a high source of vitamin E and other antioxidants, olive oil can also help hydrate skin, speed up wound healing, and help fight infections or hormonal imbalances that can lead to acne, eczema and other skin conditions, making extra virgin olive oil a home remedy for acne andnatural eczema treatment.
7 – Can Help Prevent or Treat Diabetes
Fatty acids influence glucose metabolism by altering cell membrane function, enzyme activity, insulin signaling and gene expression. Evidence suggests that consuming polyunsaturated and/or monounsaturated fats (the kind found in olive oil) has beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and is likely to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.
While carbohydrates elevate blood sugar by providing glucose, fats help stabilize blood sugar levels and regulate insulin. Even when you eat something high in sugar or carbs, adding extra virgin olive oil to the meal can help slow down the impact on your bloodstream. Consuming olive oil is also a great way to feel more satisfied after meals, which can help prevent sugar cravings and overeating that can lead to diabetes complications.
8 – Helps Balance Hormones
When trying to balance your hormones and reduce symptoms related to PMS, infertility or menopause, it’s important for your diet to include plenty of nutrients and healthy fats. Olive oil supplies essential fats that can help regulate thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands. These all work together to produce and balance sex hormones. Olive oil also provides essential vitamin E benefits that help regulate estrogen production.
Thanks to its status as a spotlight food in the Mediterranean Diet, and thanks to extensive research on its unique phytonutrient composition, olive oil has become a legendary culinary oil with very difficult-to-match health benefits. Among its extensive list of phytonutrients, no single category of nutrients is more important than its polyphenols. The polyphenol content of this delicious oil is truly amazing!
The list below shows some of the key polyphenols found in olive oil, organized by their chemical category:
Most of the polyphenols in this list have been shown to function both as antioxidants and also as anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. The very number and variety of polyphenols in olive oil helps explain the unique health benefits of this culinary oil.
It’s unusual to think about a culinary oil as an anti-inflammatory food. Plant oils are nearly 100% fat, and in a general dietary sense, they are typically classified as “added fats.” Intake of too much added dietary fat can be a problem for many reasons— including reasons involving unwanted inflammation. So it’s pretty remarkable to find a culinary oil that’s repeatedly been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and provide health benefits in the area of unwanted inflammation. Yet that’s exactly the research track record that describes extra virgin olive oil.
The anti-inflammatory strength of olive oil rests on its polyphenols. These anti-inflammatory compounds include at least nine different categories of polyphenols and more than two dozen well-researched anti-inflammatory nutrients. Research has documented a wide variety of anti-inflammatory mechanisms used by olive oil polyphenols to lower our risk of inflammatory problems. These mechanisms include decreased production of messaging molecules that would otherwise increase inflammation (including TNF-alpha, interleukin 1-beta, thromboxane B2, and leukotriene B4); inhibition of pro-inflammatory enzymes like cyclo-oxygenase 1 and cyclo-oxygenase 2; and decreased synthesis of the enzyme inducible nitric oxide synthase. In heart patients, olive oil and its polyphenols have also been determined to lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a widely used blood measurement for assessing the likelihood of unwanted inflammation. They have also been found to reduce activity in a metabolic pathway called the arachidonic acid pathway, which is central for mobilizing inflammatory processes. These anti-inflammatory benefits of extra virgin olive oil do not depend on large levels of intake. As little as 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day have been shown to be associated with significant anti-inflammatory benefits.
Many different cardiovascular problems—including gradual blocking of the arteries and blood vessels (called atherosclerosis)—have their origin in two unwanted circumstances. The first of these circumstances is called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress means too much damage (or risk of damage) from the presence of overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules. One of the best ways to help avoid oxidative stress is to consume a diet that is rich in antioxidant nutrients. The second of these circumstances is ongoing (chronic) and undesirable low-level inflammation. Undesirable and chronic inflammation can result from a variety of factors, including unbalanced metabolism, unbalanced lifestyle, unwanted exposure to environmental contaminants, and other factors. One of the best ways to help avoid chronic and unwanted inflammation is to consume a diet that is rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients. Any food that is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients is a natural candidate for lowering our risk of heart problems, because it contains the exactly right combination of nutrients to lower our risk of oxidative stress and chronic, unwanted inflammation. Many foods contain valuable amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, but few foods are as rich in these compounds as extra virgin olive oil, and this fact alone accounts for many of the research-based benefits of this culinary oil for health of our cardiovascular system.
In terms of antioxidant protection for our blood vessels, olive oil has been shown to lower risk of lipid peroxidation (oxygen damage to fat) in our bloodstream. Many of the fat-containing molecules in our blood—including molecules like LDL—need to be protected from oxygen damage. Oxygen damage to molecules like LDL significantly increases our risk of numerous cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis. Protection of the LDL molecules in our blood from oxygen damage is a major benefit provided by olive oil and its polyphenols. Equally important is protection against oxygen damage to the cells that line our blood vessels. Once again, it’s the polyphenols in olive oil that have been shown to provide us with that protection.
One process we don’t want to see in our blood vessels is too much clumping together of blood cells called platelets. While we want to see blood platelets clump together under circumstances like an open wound, where their clumping together acts to seal off the wound, we don’t want this process to occur in an ongoing way when there is no acute emergency. Several of the polyphenols found in olive oil—including hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein and luteolin—appear to be especially helpful in keeping our blood platelets in check and avoiding problems of too much clumping (called platelet aggregation). There are also two messaging molecules (called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and factor VII) that are capable of triggering too much clumping together of the platelets, and the polyphenols in olive oil can help stop overproduction of these molecules.
Olive oil is one of the few widely used culinary oils that contains about 75% of its fat in the form of oleic acid (a monounsaturated, omega-9 fatty acid). Research has long been clear about the benefits of oleic acid for proper balance of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol in the body. When diets low in monounsaturated are made high in monounsaturated fat (by replacing other oils with olive oil), research study participants tend to experience a significant decrease in their total blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and LDL:HDL ratio. Those are exactly the results we want for heart health. In addition to these cholesterol-balancing effects of olive oil and its high oleic acid content, however, comes a new twist: recent research studies have shown that olive oil and its oleic acid may be important factors for lowering blood pressure. Researchers believe that the plentiful amount of oleic acid in olive oil gets absorbed into the body, finds its way into cell membranes, changes signaling patterns at a cell membrane level (specifically, altering G-protein associated cascades) and thereby lowers blood pressure.
Interestingly, a recent laboratory animal study adds one note of caution for anyone wanting to bring the unique cardiovascular benefits of olive oil into their diet. This study found that cardiovascular benefits from olive oil and its polyphenols were not realized when the laboratory animals consumed too many calories and too much total food. This result suggests that olive oil—outstanding as it is in polyphenol protection of our cardiovascular system—needs to be integrated into an overall healthy diet in order to provide its expected benefits.
Benefits of olive oil for the digestive tract were first uncovered in research on diet and cancers of the digestive tract. Numerous studies found lower rates of digestive tract cancers—especially cancers of the upper digestive tract, including the stomach and small intestine—in populations that regularly consumed olive oil. Studies on the Mediterranean Diet were an important part of this initial research on olive oil and the digestive tract. Protection of the lower digestive tract (for example, protection of the colon from colon cancer) is less well-documented in the olive oil research, even though there is some strongly supportive evidence from select laboratory animal studies. Many of these anti-cancer effects in the digestive tract were believed to depend on the polyphenols in olive oil and their antioxidant plus anti-inflammatory properties. One particular category of polyphenols, called secoiridoids, continues to be a focus in research on prevention of digestive tract cancers.
Recent research has provided us with even more information, however, about olive oil, its polyphenols, and protection of the digestive tract. One fascinating area of recent research has involved the polyphenols in olive oil and the balance of bacteria in our digestive tract. Numerous polyphenols in olive oil have been shown to slow the growth of unwanted bacteria, including bacteria commonly responsible for digestive tract infections. These polyphenols include oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosol. Some of these same polyphenols—along with other olive oil polyphenols like ligstroside— are specifically able to inhibit the growth of the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. This effect of the olive oil polyphenols may be especially important, since overpopulation of Helicobacter bacteria coupled with over-attachment of Helicobacter to the stomach lining can lead to stomach ulcer and other unwanted digestive problems.
Bone Health Benefits
Support of overall bone health is another promising area of olive oil research. While most of the initial study in this area has been conducted on laboratory animals, better blood levels of calcium have been repeatedly associated with olive oil intake. In addition, at least two polyphenols in olive oil—tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol—have been shown to increase bone formation in rats. A recent group of researchers has also suggested that olive oil may eventually prove to have special bone benefits for post-menopausal women, since they found improved blood markers of overall bone health in female rats who had been fed olive oil after having their ovaries removed. Taken as a group, the above studies suggest that bone health benefits may eventually be viewed as an important aspect of olive oil intake.
Improved cognitive function—especially among older adults—is a well-known feature of the Mediterranean Diet. As the staple oil in that diet, olive oil has been of special interest for researchers interested in diet and cognitive function. In France, a recent study large-scale study on older adults has shown that visual memory and verbal fluency can be improved with what the researchers called “intensive use” of olive oil. In this case, “intensive use” meant regular use of olive oil not just for cooking, or as an ingredient in sauces and dressings, but in all of these circumstances.
Equally fascinating to us in the area of cognition has been recent research on olive oil intake and brain function. In laboratory animals with brain function that had been compromised by lack of oxygen, consumption of olive oil helped offset many different types of brain-related problems, including unbalanced water content, unbalanced nervous system activity, and too easy passage of molecules across the blood brain barrier. This animal research has given scientists many further clues about the ways in which olive oil might provide us with cognitive benefits. The ability to help protect our brain during times of imbalance may turn out to be one of the special health benefits offered by this unique culinary oil.
The polyphenols found in olive oil are a natural for helping us lower our risk of certain cancer types. Many types of cancer only get initiated when cells are overwhelmed by oxidative stress (damage to cell structure and function by overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules) and by chronic excessive inflammation. Since the polyphenols in olive oil act both as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory molecules, they are perfectly suited for lowering our cells’ risk of oxidative stress and chronic unwanted inflammation. Research studies have shown that as little as 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil per day can lower our risk of certain cancer types, including cancers of the breast, respiratory tract, upper digestive tract, and to a lesser extent, lower digestive tract (colorectal cancers). In some research studies, the anti-cancer benefits of olive oil do not show up until the diets of routine olive oil users are compared with the diets of individuals who seldom use olive oil and who instead consume added fats that are more saturated in composition (for example, butter).
While most of the anti-cancer research on olive oil has focused on its polyphenols and their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, several studies have uncovered other fascinating ways in which olive oil provides its anti-cancer benefits. These other ways include the improvement of cell membrane function in a way that lowers risk of cancer development and the altering gene expression in cells in a way that enhances their antioxidant defense system. A final important mechanism linking olive oil intake to decreased cancer risk involves protection of our DNA. The antioxidants in olive oil appear to have a special ability to protect DNA (deoxyribonucleic acids)— the key chemical component of genetic material in our cells— from oxygen damage. DNA protection from unwanted oxidative stress means better cell function in wide variety of ways and provides a cell with decreased risk of cancer development.
There is also encouraging research on the potential for olive oil to help with control of certain cancers once they have already developed. For example, improvement of breast cancer status has been an area of particular interest in olive oil research. Here some of the research has focused on the secoiridoids in olive oil (especially oleocanthal), and its ability to help keep breast cancer cells from reproducing. Another example involves the ability of hydroxytyrosol (HT) in olive oil to trigger programmed cell death (apoptosis) in colon cancer cells. HT may be able to accomplish this anti-cancer effect by helping block the enzymatic activity of fatty acid synthetase (FAS). These cancer-controlling properties of olive oil and olive oil constituents are generally referred to as the “antiproliferative” properties of olive oil. We expect to see more future research in this area.
Olive oil is made from the crushing and then subsequent pressing of olives. The fact that olives are rich in oil is reflected in the botanical name of the olive tree — Olea Europea — since the word “oleum” means oil in Latin. Olive oil is available in a variety of grades, which reflect the degree to which it has been processed. Extra virgin olive oil is derived from the first pressing of the olives and has the most delicate flavor and strongest overall health benefits. See How to Select and Store for more information on these different grades of olive oil.
There’s far more to extra virgin olive oil than meets the eye (and tastebuds).
Traditionally boasting low cholesterol, fewer instances of heart disease and very little obesity, the Mediterranean diet has always been defined by the liberal use of extra virgin olive oil. The average Greek consumes 20 litres a year, compared with just 2 litres per person in Australia, so what other secrets does this nectar of the gods contain?
- It’s good for your sex life
No wonder the greatest lover in history was Italian: extra virgin olive oil may even improve your sex life. Casanova must have had excellent circulation for all those conquests; olive oil boosts circulation to all areas of the body, including those hard to reach erogenous zones.
- 2. Weight loss secret weapon
Twenty litres of extra virgin olive oil every year and most Mediterraneans still aren’t fat. According to Leandro Ravetti, Chief Oil Maker of the award-winning Cobram Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oils, a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil may deliver greater and longer lasting weight loss results than a low-fat diet.
- Diabetes deterrent
Eating extra virgin olive oil as part of a balanced diet may help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Ravetti says extra virgin helps “regulate and balance our insulin levels, so you’re not really having those spikes.”
- Pain relief
Extra virgin olive oil contains a substance called oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory agents, meaning olive oil is like a natural Ibuprofen. Research increasingly suggests inflammation impacts a number of chronic diseases, so olive oil’s anti-inflammatory properties grow more compelling all the time.
- Skin saviour
Extra virgin olive oil helps with anti-ageing, osteoporosis andskin damage. “One that’s proven is that it adds a protective coating on the skin, both through consumption and application,” says Ravetti.
- Mental agility
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, which research suggests helps prevent or slow down the cognitive decline associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- It strengthens your immune system
Loaded with antioxidants – vital for strengthening and protecting your immune system – extra virgin olive oil may help you become more resistant to infection. This wide range of important antioxidants isn’t found in other oils.
- It keeps your body running smoothly
It’s not just vehicles that benefit from a regular oil change; extra virgin olive oil contributes to the operational health of such vital areas as the stomach, pancreas and intestines.
- Pregnancy aid
Not only can olive oil application assist in avoiding stretch marks, consuming extra virgin olive oil while pregnant may improve your child’s psychomotor reflexes and more.
Since extra virgin olive oil assists in the prevention and/or reduced impact of so many diseases – including certain cancers – it’s no exaggeration to say it may even help you live longer. Not bad for something that’s also delicious.
Frying is one of the few characteristics common to the entire Mediterranean area, be it European, Asian or African, and to the three religions practiced, Christian, Muslim and Jewish. It is one of the oldest methods in existence of cooking food.
Recent investigations have shown that frying is beneficial to the organism, particularly from the physiological point of view. Because of this, it has extended to areas where formerly it was not as popular. Whether the food fried is digested easily or lies heavily on the stomach depends to a great extent on the type of oil used, the temperature of the oil and the manner in which the food was fried. Studies undertaken on healthy subjects and patients with gastroduodenal problems (gastritis, ulcer, liver and biliary complaints) have shown that there is no relationship between food fried in olive oil and these illnesses.
The alteration undergone by vegetable oils when heated for frying is quicker and more atty acids (seed oils), and the higher the initial acidity of the oil (it is more stable if it has a high content of natural antioxidants – vitamin E). This alteration also varies according to temperature and length of time heated, number of times used, manner of frying (in continuous frying it changes less), and the type of food being fried (frying fish, especially oily fish, increases the polyunsaturated acid content of the oil, facilitating its decomposition).
Olive oil is ideal for frying. In proper temperature conditions, without over-heating, it undergoes no substantial structural change and keeps its nutritional value better than other oils, not only because of the antioxidants but also due to its high levels of oleic acid. Its high smoking point (210ºC) is substantially higher than the ideal temperature for frying food (180ºC). Those fats with lower critical points, such as corn and butter, break down at this temperature and form toxic products.
Another advantage of using olive oil for frying is that it forms a crust on the surface of the food that impedes the penetration of oil and improves its flavour. Food fried in olive oil has a lower fat content than food fried in other oils, making olive oil more suitable for weight control. Olive oil, therefore, is the most suitable, the lightest and the tastiest medium for frying.
It goes further than other oils, and not only can it be re-used more often than others, it also increases in volume when reheated, so less is required for cooking and frying.
The digestibility of heated olive oil does not change even when re-used for frying several times.
Olive oil should not be mixed with other fats or vegetable oils and should not generally be used more than four or five times.
The olive oil used for frying should always be hot; if it is cold the food will soak up the oil.
There should always be plenty of oil in the pan when deep frying. If only a small amount is used, not only will it burn more easily but the food being fried will be undercooked on top and overcooked on the bottom.
When heated, olive oil is the most stable fat, which means it stands up well to high frying temperatures. Its high smoking point (210º C) is well above the ideal temperature for frying food (180º C). The digestibility of olive oil is not affected when it is heated, even when it is re-used several times for frying.
TEMPERATURE TYPE OF FOOD
Medium (130–145º C)
Hot (155– 170º C)
Very hot (175–190º C)
TYPE OF FOOD
High water content: vegetables, potatoes, fruit…
Coated in butter, flour or breadcrumbs, forming a crust
Small, quickly fried: small fish, croquettes
On an international scale there is much discussion about, and deep interest in, finding the ideal diet, which will improve the health of human beings warding off illnesses. Ever since antiquity, the traditional diet of Cretans seems to be just such a one, including all the right ingredients.
The Greek island of Crete has always been identified with healing and regeneration.
And once again, an ancient culture may offer lessons to the people of today!
Following scientific research and statistical analyses, the Cretan nutrition and diet has been proven to promote health and longevity. It consists almost exclusively of products that the people of Crete produce naturally. Products that only the island of Crete and its ideal climatic conditions can offer.
It is not only the unique in taste and quality Cretan products but also their combination, which gives an enormous nutritional value and can be found in every Cretan dish.
A comparative study among several developed countries, which began in 1960 on behalf of seven countries, has a group of about 700 Cretan men from the countryside under medical observation, regularly checking the state of their health: so far this group has had the lowest percentage of deaths caused by heart attacks and different kinds of cancer.
This study has also shown the Cretan population to be the longest living one: when, in 1991, thirty one years after the beginning of the study, the Social Health Sector of the University of Crete undertook the medical checkup of the group, about 50% were found to be still alive as opposed to the rest of the six participating countries where there wasn’t a single survivor (even in the rest of Greece)! Until recently the diet was simple and wholesome: organic olive oil, which counted for the 1/3 of the individual’s daily need in energy, but mainly cereals, principally bread, pulses, vegetables and fruit and, to a lesser degree, cheese, milk, eggs, fish and a little red wine with every meal.
Taking into account the conditions of today’s life, we would recommend a return to the traditional Cretan eating habits.
If someone decides to incorporate a Cretan-like diet, it is good to know the following basics:
- Use olive oil as the principal fat, replacing other fats and oils
- Drink a moderate consumption of wine, normally with meals; about one to two glasses per day for men and one glass per day for women
- Eat fresh fruit as a typical daily dessert; limit sweets with a significant amount of sugar and saturated fat
- Incorporate an abundance of food from plant sources, including fruits and vegetables, breads and grains, beans, nuts, and seeds
- Eat minimally processed and seasonally fresh and locally grown foods
- Total dietary fat should range from less than 25 percent to over 35 percent of energy, with saturated fat no more than 7 to 8 percent of total calories
- Eat low to moderate amounts of cheese and yoghurt daily
- Consume low to moderate amounts of fish and poultry weekly; and limit eggs from zero to four servings per week
Only eat red meat a few times or just one time per month.
The health and therapeutic benefits of olive oil were first mentioned by Hippocrates, the father of medicine. For centuries, the nutritional, cosmetic and medicinal benefits of olive oil have been recognized by the people of the Mediterranean.
Olive oil was used to maintain skin and muscle suppleness, heal abrasions, and soothe the burning and drying effects of sun and water. Olive oil was administered both internally, and externally – for health and beauty. Recent research has now provided firm proof that a Mediterranean diet, which includes olive oil, is not only generally healthy, but that consuming olive oil can actually help lower harmful LDL cholesterol. Olive oil contains antioxidants that discourage artery clogging and chronic diseases, including cancer.
There are three kinds of dietary fats: saturated (animal), polyunsaturated (plants, seeds, nuts, vegetable oils), and monounsaturated (olive oil). From a nutritional standpoint, all types of olive oil are approximately the same, with 80% monounsaturated, 14% saturated, 9% polyunsaturated fats on average.
Olive oil is rich in vitamins A, B-1, B-2, C, D, E and K and in iron. Olive oil, which is beneficial to the digestive system, does not necessarily keep you thin; it contains just as many calories as other oils (9cal/g).
Olive oil acts as a mild laxative, is a friend to the intestine and an enemy of ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil is a good tonic, with specific benefits for people suffering from heart disease.
Olive oil has been regarded as the “beauty oil”. The body’s cells incorporate the valuable fatty acids from the oil, making arteries more supple and skin more lustrous. The amount of oleic acid in olive oil is about the same as that found in a mother’s milk and is thus the best growth supplement for infants.
Drunk before a meal, olive oil protects the stomach from ulcers. If a spoon or two is taken with lemon or coffee, it prevents constipation without irritating the intestinal tract. It is also effective in treating urinary tract infections and gall bladder problems. It is a perfect remedy for gastritis in children, it accelerates brain development and strengthens the bones. Olive oil dissolves clots in capillaries, has been found to lower the degree of absorption of edible fats, and consequently slows down the aging process.
Only animal-derived foods contain cholesterol. Olive oil is cholesterol-free. Cholesterol is not entirely harmful; it is an essential building block for cell membranes, nerve fiber coverings, vitamin D and sex hormones. The body manufactures all the cholesterol it needs, so any cholesterol in foods we eat is excessive. Excess cholesterol causes a gradual accumulation of fatty deposits and connective tissue, known as plaque, along the walls of blood vessels. Eventually, plaque builds up, narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow, in this way increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and is vital for the structure of cell walls. In order to circulate through the bloodstream, it is “packaged” in fatty-protein wrappings called “lipoproteins”. The low-density lipoproteins (LDL) distribute cholesterol throughout the body, dropping it off where needed. The liver also packages another type of cholesterol called high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which picks-up circulating cholesterol and returns it to the liver for reprocessing, or excretion. The LDLs are the ones that build up the walls of the arteries and so are tagged “bad” cholesterol. HDLs carry cholesterol away. So the more HDLs there are, the easier it is to unblock paths and rid the body of unwanted cholesterol. What the body really needs is a good HDL/LDL ratio. Polyunsaturated oils lower LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) levels. Monounsaturated oils (such as olive oil), lower only LDL cholesterol, leaving HDLs to help clean out arteries.
Animal fats, which contain saturated fatty acids, exponentially increase blood cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fatty acids lower both LDL and HDL levels in the blood, but they do not affect their ratio. Monounsaturated fatty acids on the other hand control LDL levels while raising HDL levels. No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated fatty acids as olive oil, which mainly contains oleic acid. The modest amount of well-balanced polyunsaturated fatty acids in olive oil is well protected by antioxidant substances. It is widely believed that antioxidant substances such as vitamins E, K and polyphenols found in olive oil provide a defense mechanism that delays aging and prevents carcinogenesis, therosclerosis, liver disorders and inflammations. Since olive oil is not tortured during extraction, these substances are left unspoiled, making the olive oil very stable even when frying. So contrary to common belief, olive oil undergoes a smaller degree of deterioration during frying than other oils.
Due to its chemical structure, olive oil is of unrivaled organoleptic value and thus the oil best suited for human consumption. It is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, its protective function has a beneficial effect on gastritis and ulcers. It is a cholagogue, activating the secretion of pancreatic hormones and bile much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of cholelithiasis (gallstone formation). Its excellent digestibility promotes the overall absorption of nutrients, especially vitamins and mineral salts. It has a positive effect on constipation. Bones need a large amount of oleates and what source could be better than olive oil? Promoting bone mineralisation, it is excellent for infants and the elderly who have bone calcification problems. It also has beneficial effects on brain and nervous system development as well as on overall growth. It shields the body against infection and helps in the healing of tissues, internal and external. Olive oil is a panacea, the perfect oil for all ages. And every time scientists look into the reasons behind an olive oil advantage empirically known and employed by the peoples of the Mediterranean, it is certain that they will come across evidence of yet another unique biological attribute.
As doctors said, prevention is number one factor for good health. Speaking as simple as we can and without the use of special medical terms we must point out the following:
1. Many diseases are caused by the incontrollable receipt of food, especially food containing in excess saturated fatty acids (animal fats), leading to arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.
Medical studies indicate that Mediterranean countries and specifically Greece, where olive oil consumption is high, suffer less cardiovascular problems from any other country in the world where the ratio of the consumption of animal fat is high or simply the nutrition parameters are poor.
By reducing the animal fats and increasing olive oil in our diet we obtain a perfect combination for the prevention of such fatal diseases, like arteriosclerosis and heart attacks.
2. The problems in bile area torture millions of people on our planet. The bad function of the bile and the formation of gallstone are problems difficult to cure and most of the times medical surgery is the only solution available.
Recent medical studies proved that the use of olive oil, perfectly compatible with human body needs, creates a natural tie to those liquids that result in the formation of the gallstone mitigating pain and annoyance in bile’s area.
3. Millions of people around the world suffer by stomach problems and related diseases. Very serious is the gastric ulcer disease. As it is known the use of olive oil in nutrition is a beneficial factor for the function of the digestive system due to its property of keeping low the percentage of HCl in our stomach. Thus, the olive oil helps the normal function of the digestive system reducing to minimum the chances of ulcer creation and the other relative diseases, not to mention that is the best natural medicament for the fight against constipation.
It has been also proved that the use of olive oil in nutrition helps to sustain:
1. Human metabolism at a good balance, body’s growth and bone growth at a good level. It is obvious that olive oil means good health and development for our children.
2. Good level of Vitamin E in our body. This vitamin has the property to delay the change of the cellular structure which leads to natural decadence, the people’s aging, so one of the best medicaments for delaying aging is the olive oil. On the other hand, as we all know, Vitamin E improves our sexual life. So one can say that olive oil is by itself an aphrodisiac!
Last but not least, is the unique property of olive oil to dissolve useful substances coming from food that cannot be absorbed by the human body.
Olive oil is used in everyday cooking. It can be used in salads or added in the cooking process of almost any recipe. Olive Oil is the healthiest type of oil with 0% cholesterol, rich in Vitamins against aging and perfect even for frying dishes. Olive oil is the best nutritional gift we can offer to ourselves. Olive oil helps us keep good in health making our life pleasant.
The Cretan Diet (Greek: κρητική διατροφή) is the traditional diet of the Mediterranean island of Crete, a typical case of the so-called “Mediterranean Diet“.
The core of this diet consists of food derived from natural sources, whereas food of animal origin was more peripheral in nature. In general, people consumed seasonal products, available in the wider local area, which underwent minimal processing or none at all. The traditional diet was widespread in the island until the 1960s, when with improving living standards, alimentary patterns changed towards more meat and other animal-derived produce.
Fresh and dried fruits, pulses, endemic wild herbs and aromatic plants, and rough cereals, whose cultivation was favored by the regional climate, were consumed in great amounts and constituted the base of the Cretan Diet during that period. Dairy products were consumed on a daily basis in low to moderate quantities. Poultry and fish were consumed on a weekly basis in moderate quantities, whereas red meat was consumed only a few times a month. All animals were free-range, as industrialized animal husbandry was absent at the time: hens were fed local grain and were left to forage, pigs were fed leftovers, and cattle were exclusively grass-fed. The main supply of fat was effectuated by olive oil, which was used not only in salads but also in cooking, unlike the northern European countries which primarily used animal fat. Another essential feature of the Cretan Diet was the moderate use of alcohol, mainly red wine which accompanied meals. Finally, the most common dessert was fresh fruits, while traditional pastry based on honey had been consumed a few times a week.
The Cretan Diet of the 1960s has quite a few differences compared to other Mediterranean diets of the same period. More specifically, the 1960 Seven Country Study (involving 13.000 men from Finland, Netherlands, Japan, United States, Italy, Yugoslavia and Greece) has demonstrated that in Crete the consumption of olive oil, pulses, fruits and potatoes was higher compared to the consumption of the same type of food in South Italy. On the other hand, red meat, fish and cereals were consumed in smaller quantities. One of the factors that seem to have contributed to the low consumption of food of animal origin that was observed in Crete during the study of the Seven Countries was the fact that during this period the Cretans kept to the fasts dictated by the Greek Orthodox Church (180-200 days per year) to a large degree.
Several studies have been carried out to test the Cretan Diet‘s effect on human health. The island had attracted the attention of the scientific community as early as 1948, when researchers from the Rockefeller Foundation were summoned by the Greek government in an attempt to improve, in the post-war era, the “bad” living conditions of the Cretan population. Within this framework, a detailed assessment of the Cretan Diet was performed, and – to the surprise of the researchers – it proved to be nutritionally sufficient, with only a few exceptions which were limited to areas with a very low income and very limited food production by the families themselves.
Initially, the protective effect of the Cretan Diet for human health was attributed to its high monounsaturated fat content, due to the daily use of olive oil, as well as to low saturated fat, due to the low consumption of red meat. Today it is recognized that this particular nutritional scheme possesses important additional features, providing the necessary micro-constituents (i.e. vitamins and minerals), being rich in ω-3 fatty acids, vegetable fibres, antioxidants and various phytochemicals, which have significant influence on several body functions, and a beneficial effect on health.
Thank you for choosing Critida’s Greek Olive Oils from the island of Crete
FAX: +30 2810 211 929