Relieve Pain with Olive Oils

Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil | Olive Oil | Virgin Olive Oil

Could a traditional olive oil have pain and inflammation reducing effects similar to over the counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen, vicodin, and norcos?

 

Scientists from Italy, Spain, the U.S. and Australia have discovered that Extra Virgin Olive Oil can in fact provide significant health benefits, including the ability to help reduce pain and inflammation.

 

A Sacred Oil

 

From ancient Greece to the Holy Land, Olive Oil has been cherished. Celebrated as sacred in Greek mythology, the olive branch symbolizes peace in Hellenic culture. Evidence of this ancient oil was discovered in 1901 at the “Room of the Olive Press” at Knossos on the island of Crete in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. From there olives were pressed into oil over 4,500 years ago and the olive oil was exported to North Africa and mainland Greece.

 

Cultivation of olive trees spread around the Mediterranean where Olive Oil thrived along with many early civilizations. The bible speaks of Olive Oil, and it has been used by Christianity and Judaism as a holy anointing oil.

 

Today, the major producers of Olive Oil are Spain, Italy, Greece, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco and Syria. Nonetheless, the growing popularity of Olive Oil can be seen in the spread of cultivation around the world to countries such as the U.S., Chile, and South Africa. Australia has also become an energetic Olive Oil producer and exporter.

 

Eating Healthy With Olive Oil

Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil | Olive Oil | Virgin Olive Oil

Moreover, Extra Virgin Olive Oil can contribute nutritional support in the fight against an assortment of health problems including:

 

  • Arthritis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High cholesterol
  • And in pain management

 

A research study from Spain has actually shown that higher Olive Oil consumption is associated with leaner body weight (an important factor in prevention of chronic conditions). Another study from the universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain looked at how diets including olive oil might offer protection against depression:

 

  • Bad Fats Linked to Depression
  • Natural Painkiller Discovered in Olive Oil

 

Recent research has identified the antioxidant called oleocanthal, which is only found in extra-virgin olive oil.  Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia, found that oleocanthal in olive oil has a potency strikingly similar to that of the drug ibuprofen in inhibiting the cyclooxygenase (Cox) enzyme that causes pain and inflammation. Given the side effects of common pain relieving drugs, finding a nutritional way to reduce pain and inflammation could be an incredible solution for people suffering from pain.

 

Research on Health Benefits of Olive Oil

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Modern doctors have recently researched the consumption of Olive Oil from the perspective of issues such as cardiovascular health, cancer and longevity.

 

With respect to anti-aging they noted: The more recent studies quite often support that the Mediterranean diet, based in Virgin Olive Oil, is compatible with healthier ageing and increased longevity.

 

Consumption of olive oil has been associated with:

 

  • Reduction of total cholesterol and an increase in the high-density cholesterol (HDL-C), which has a protective effect on blood vessels.
  • Improved sensitivity of cells to insulin, which helps to prevent the Metabolic Syndrome. Preventing Metabolic Syndrome is important, because the syndrome increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
  • Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Potent Antioxidant – The Power of Olive Oil

 

Phenolic compounds are potent antioxidants found in Virgin and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. These compounds give unrefined Olive Oils their unique flavors and high degree of stability.

 

Studies indicate these compounds may be able to:

 

  • Turn off the activity of genes that produce the kind of inflammation that causes coronary heart disease.
  • Decrease production of inflammatory chemicals called thromboxanes and leukotrienes.
  • Decrease the production of the most damaging form of cholesterol, oxidized LDL cholesterol.
  • University of South Australia researchers note that compounds from the olive were found to be antimicrobial against various bacteria.
  • Furthermore, Olive Oil is just the beginning of anti-inflammatory foods.

 

Enjoying Olive Oil

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The amount of olive oil associated with protection against inflammation is only two teaspoons a day, which is easy to achieve. A slight amount of Olive Oil can make a simple salad dressing, and a little olive oil can also be used for dipping bread, instead of butter. Additionally, Olive Oil can also be used in baking.

 

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Olive Oil Diet Known to Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Olive Oil Diet Known to Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

In most common health cases, doctors prescribe a low fat diet to prevent a variety of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. While numerous studies have shown that high fat diets may increase the risk of certain diseases such as cancer and diabetes, it appears that it is the type of fat that counts rather than the amount of fat. Because of the these studies, we now know that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats such as the ones found in olive oil, nuts and seeds protects us from many of these chronic diseases.

 

A recent Spanish study published in the scientific journal Diabetes Care showed that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil reduces the risk of type II diabetes by nearly 50% compared to a low fat diet. Type II diabetes is the most common and preventable form of diabetes.

 

People who are obese or overweight and have metabolic syndrome are at highest risk for developing this form of diabetes. The study is part of PREDIMED, a long-term nutritional intervention study aimed to assess the efficacy of the Mediterranean diet in the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases, and is composed of a multidisciplinary team of 16 groups distributed in 7 autonomous communities in Spain.

 

The study included 418 participants (None of them having diabetes). Each participant was randomly assigned to either:

Olive Oil Diet Known to Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

  • A low fat diet
  • A Mediterranean diet with olive oil (up to 1 liter a week)
  • Or a Mediterranean diet with nuts (30 grams a day)

 

After 4 years 17.9 % of the individuals following the low fat diet developed diabetes, while only 10 % of the participants following the Mediterranean with olive oil diet developed the disease.

 

When the two MedDiet groups (olive oil and nut groups) were pooled and compared with the low fat group, incidence of diabetes was reduced by 52 %. It is critical to note that the reduction of diabetes risk was independent of changes in body weight or physical activity and that the Mediterranean diets that were followed were not calorie restricted.

 

Previous studies have shown that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil may prevent the appearance of type II diabetes by:

 

  • Improving blood sugar levels
  • Insulin resistance
  • Blood lipid levels

 

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What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is made by crushing olives and extracting the juice. It is the only cooking oil that is made without the use of chemicals and industrial refining. It’s ultimately the juice of fresh, healthy olives.

 

Extra virgin is the highest quality and most expensive olive oil classification in the market. It should have no defects and a flavor of fresh olives. It must be produced entirely by mechanical means without the use of any solvents, and under temperatures that will not degrade the oil.

 

It’s not that easy to create extra virgin olive oil. A producer must use fresh olives in exceptional condition and monitor every step of the process with great care. Extra virgin olive oil doesn’t stay that way. Even in perfect storage conditions, the oil will degrade over time, so it’s essential to enjoy it within its two-year shelf life.

 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is…

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fruity

 

Expect to taste enjoyable fruit flavors reminiscent of fresh ripe or green olives.

Ripe fruit yields oils that are milder, aromatic, buttery, and floral, while green fruit yields oils that are grassy, herbaceous, bitter, and pungent. Fruitiness also varies with the type of olive.

 

Bitter

 

For the most part, fresh olive oil will have a mostly pleasant acrid flavor sensation on the tongue. A peppery sensation in the mouth and throat is a sign of a surplus if nutrients in good, fresh extra virgin olive oil.

 

The Difference Between Virgin and Refined

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin means the oil was made by pressing olives. It didn’t undergo any of the industrial processes used to make ‘refined’ oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean and the lower grades of olive oil labeled ‘Pure,’ ‘Light,’ and simply ‘Olive Oil.’

 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

Virgin olive oils that have modest taste defects and meets somewhat less strict chemical parameters are labeled ‘Real Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is usually really hard to come by.

Refined Olive Oil

 

Olive oils that are industrially refined to remove unpleasant tastes are marketed as ‘Pure,’ ‘Light’ and simply, ‘Olive Oil.’  These refined oils are produced on a large scale like seed oils, those such as canola, peanut, soybean and sunflower oils, however refined olive oil is still a monounsaturated fat (MUFA) and is a healthier choice than the other refined cooking oils.

Olive Varieties

 

Just like multiple grape varieties used for wines, there are more than 1,000 olive varieties, each with its own unique taste characteristics. Chefs are only beginning to explore the almost limitless possibilities by pairing mono-varietal extra virgin oils to enhance their culinary creations.

 

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Infusing Olive Oil

infusing-olive-oils | Infused Olive Oils

It is possible to make amazing and mouthwatering Infused Olive Oil at home only using dried wild herbs. However, the intensity of the flavor varies with the season, whether the herbs are wild or domestic, how the local growing conditions have been, etc. It quite frankly takes a lot of trial and error. Creating Infused Olive Oil is more art than science and the people who are exceptional at it are grateful and humble enough  to share their valued trade secrets. The oil will pick up the flavor fairly quickly, in the first few weeks, and then slowly intensify. It is okay to leave the herbs in for a long time; eventually all the flavor leaves the herbs and the oil flavor stabilizes.

 

We typically suggest, when mixing herbs, think salad dressing. Look at some recipes for dressing and substitute the dried herbs for any fresh herbs called for in the recipe. A dipping blend is like an Italian dressing with much more oil than vinegar.

 

Flavored olive oils and dressings make great gifts but be careful; there are safe and unsafe ways to make Infused Olive Oil. The unsafe way is to put anything in the oil that contains any trace of water or moisture. That would include garlic, lemon peel, fresh peppers, fresh herbs and spices. The oil will not support bacterial growth but the water containing herbs will. Botulism bacteria can grow in this type of environment, even in a sealed bottle. There are a variety of things you can do to avoid this problem.

 

Mix All the Ingredients, Refrigerate Them and Use Them Within A Week:

infusing-olive-oils | Infused Olive Oils

This is the best and most popular way if you are using fresh ingredients such as fresh basil, fresh rosemary or garlic. Garlic is perfect for adding to pasta dishes, that you can then top with a little grated dry cheese. Fill a decorative 1-litre bottle with extra virgin Olive Oil. Add a clean head of garlic (whole if desired), and leave to marinade for a few days. You can also use lemon peel, fresh or dried peppers, ginger, rosemary sprigs, etc. Alternatively, you can use a recipe for Italian salad dressing but cut down on the vinegar or lemon juice.

 

Preserve the Added Ingredients:

 

Maybe you have seen garlic or herbs mixed with oil. The way it is done commercially is to first preserve the water-containing garlic, herb, etc. with a strong brine or vinegar solution, then put it in the oil.

 

The vinegar solutions used commercially are usually up to 4X’s stronger than the vinegars you find in the supermarket. You can find them at commercial food supply outlets. Many of the herb mixes have both salt and vinegar which both prevent bacterial growth. Commercial vinaigrettes and sauces also have chemical preservatives not usually available to the home cook.

 

Dry the Herbs to Remove all Water, Leaving the Essential Oils:

infusing-olive-oils | Infused Olive Oils

 

This can easily be done with a food dehydrator or simply by leaving it in the sun. After the spices and herbs are dry, you can add them to the Olive Oil. Whole sprigs of thyme, rosemary, dried peppers, etc. can decorate the inside of the bottle this way.

 

Press the Olives with the Spices:

 

Putting lemon, garlic, etc. in the olive press with the olives is the safest way to flavor oil. You must have your own olive press The oils from the added ingredients intertwine with the olive oil and the watery part of the spice’s is removed along with the olive water.

At this point, you could add essential spice oils to the olive oil to achieve the same effect.

 

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Olive Oil Known to Reduce Arthritis Inflammation

Olive Oil Known to Reduce Arthritis Inflammation

Did you know that oil, called oleocanthal, prevents the production of pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes – the same way ibuprofen works?

 

By inhibiting these enzymes, inflammation and the increase in pain sensitivity associated with them is can be dampened. Additionally, researchers have found the intensity of the “throaty bite” in oil is directly related to the amount of oleocanthal it contains. Virgin olive oils from quality olives, usually tend to have the highest oleocanthal levels.

 

A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in 2015 payed close attention specifically at the benefits of oleocanthal for rheumatoid arthritis. After thorough studies, researchers found that this compound had a drastic impact not only on chronic inflammation but also on other severe inflammatory processes as well.

 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: More Than Inflammation

 

Extra-virgin olive oil has a variety of benefits beyond stemming inflammation. Several studies have shown benefits for heart health, bone Loss, and neurological diseases (affecting the brain, spine, muscles and connecting nerves)

 

  1. A study published in Molecules in 2014 discussed the effect of a component of the oil, called hydroxytyrosol, which had a protective effect on the neurological system.  

 

  1. In another study – this time an animal study – published in the peer-reviewed journal, PLOSOne in 2014, researchers showed that when virgin olive oil was combined with vitamin D, it protected against bone loss.

 

  1. And one other study, led by Dr. Francisco Perez-Jimenez of the University of Cordoba, Spain in 2005 showed that a compound found in the oil, called polyphenol, promoted heart health.

 

Getting The Full Benefits of Virgin Olive Oil

Olive Oil Known to Reduce Arthritis Inflammation

Researchers say that about 3 1/2 Tbsp. of the oil is equal to a 200-mg tablet of ibuprofen.  Ibuprofen is generally used to help control pain and inflammation. But serious side effects can occur if it’s used for more than 10 days. Did you know that virgin olive oil may actually help you  lessen how much you need to take?

 

Be aware that 3 1/2 Tbsp. of the oil has more than 400 calories. So, it’s a good idea to use in moderation so that excess calories don’t lead to weight gain.

 

We also recommend that you don’t heat olive oil to high temperatures (about 410 degrees), because this kills some of the beneficial properties of olive oil. At lower temperatures, you can sauté vegetables (300 degrees) or fry breaded items (340 degrees), and reap the benefits of switching out butter for olive oil.  You can also use it at room temperature in salad dressings, as a dip for bread, or for tossing pasta or veggies.

 

One final word of advise: Protect the oil’s healthful properties by keeping them in a cool, dark cupboard or pantry, (the fridge works too).

 

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What is Infused Olive Oil?

What is Infused Olive Oil | Infused Olive Oil | Olive Oils

Infused Olive Oil is a cooking oil that has been enhanced in flavor with natural seasonings. Infused Oils can add a instinct taste to dishes that are sautéed or fried. Flavoring oil can be great for bread dipping or slowly drizzled on a salad. Furthermore, did you know that olive oil is known to be one of the healthiest forms of cooking oil? It’s really the infusion of added flavors which makes it all the more popular.

 

3 Ways Infused Olive Oil Can Be Made

 

Using A Clear Bottle

What is Infused Olive Oil | Infused Olive Oil | Olive Oils

The simplest is to place the olive oil and the desired spices in a clear bottle. The bottle is sealed and left at room temperature for a few hours, or as long as a month or more. It is extremely important to be sure the bottle and cap are completely sterile, as the introduction of the flavorful ingredients can cause the oil to become rancid. After the infused oils have reached the desired flavor level, they should be refrigerated to ensure freshness.

 

Hot Infusion

What is Infused Olive Oil | Infused Olive Oil | Olive Oils

Another process for cooking infused olive oil is hot infusion. The olive oil is combined with herbs and spices in a saucepan; then carefully and  gently heated on a stove. To completely release the flavoring into the cooking oil, the mixture is brought to a temperature between 180 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit (82 to 93 degrees Celsius). Finally, the flavored cooking oil is then strained into a bottle, sealed and refrigerated.

Cold Infusion

What is Infused Olive Oil | Infused Olive Oil | Olive Oils

The cold method of making infused olive oil involves a food processor or blender. This kind of  method works especially well for dry spices and woody fibers. The olive oil and added ingredients are placed in the food processor and liquified until they are well blended. The mixture can also be strained, depending on the taste of the chef. The infused oils are then poured into bottles and immediately refrigerated to preserve optimum flavor.

 

What About The Herbs?

What is Infused Olive Oil | Infused Olive Oil | Olive Oils

There are a mixture of herbs, roots and spices that can be added to olive oil to make flavored cooking oil. Infused oils featuring fresh rosemary, thyme, taragon, basil, chives, or oregano are popular. Spicier flavors of oil can contain fresh or dried chilies, curry, cumin, or cardamom. Root additions can also include shallots, ginger or horseradish.

 

How Should I Season It?

 

The seasonings used in making infused oils are up to the individual cook themselves. Some people just like to add one or two cloves of fresh garlic for an all-purpose flavoring oil. Others will put together exotic creations featuring mint or citrus zest infused with specialty cooking oils. The best recipe for infused olive oil is the one that suits the taste and cooking needs of the chef.

 

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How To Cook With Olive Oil

Olive Oil | Infused Olive Oil | Fused Olive Oil | Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive Oil helps:

  • Carry the flavor of foods and spices
  • Provides a pleasing feel in the mouth
  • And satisfies the appetite

 

A wide-range use of it will enhance both savory and sweet dishes without guilt because of its incredible health-boosting properties (although if you’re trying to lose weight, you may not want to overdo it, because like all fats, it provides nine calories per gram).

 

Virgin and Extra-Virgin Olive Oils are best used uncooked or cooked at low to medium temperatures. Refined and Olive grade oils are the choices for high-heat uses, such as frying.

 

An oil’s smoke point is the temperature at which it smokes when heated. Any oil is ruined at its smoke point and is no longer good for you. If you heat an oil to its smoke point, carefully discard it and start over. Olive Oil has a higher smoke point than most other oils (about 400 degrees Fahrenheit). Refined Olive Oils have a slightly higher smoke point (about 410 degrees Fahrenheit).

 

Tips for Cooking with Olive Oil

Olive Oil | Infused Olive Oil | Fused Olive Oil | Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Although extra-virgin and virgin Olive Oils stand up to heat remarkably well, they do lose flavor as they’re heated, so they are best for uncooked dishes. Use them to harmonize the spices in a dish, to enhance and build flavors, and to add body and depth.

 

Additionally, Olive Oil also balances the acidity in high-acid foods, such as tomatoes, vinegar, wine, and lemon juice. In general, treat your Olive Oils as you do your wines, carefully pairing their tastes with the flavors of the other ingredients in the dishes you are creating.

 

Here are some ways to use olive oil:

Olive Oil | Infused Olive Oil | Fused Olive Oil | Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Drizzle it over salad or mix it into salad dressing.
  • Use in marinades or sauces for meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables. Oil penetrates nicely into the first few layers of the food being marinated.
  • Add at the end of cooking for a burst of flavor.
  • Drizzle over cooked pasta or vegetables.
  • Use instead of butter or margarine as a healthy dip for bread. Pour a little olive oil into a small side dish and add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, which will pool in the middle and look very attractive.
  • For an easy appetizer, toast baguette slices under the broiler, rub them lightly with a cut clove of garlic, and add a little drizzle of olive oil.
  • Replace butter with olive oil in mashed potatoes or on baked potatoes. For the ultimate mashed potatoes, whip together cooked potatoes, roasted garlic, and olive oil; season to taste.
  • Make a tasty, heart-healthy dip by mixing cooked white beans, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor; season to taste with your favorite herbs.
  • Use olive oil in your sauces — whisking will help emulsify, or blend, the watery ingredients with the oil in the sauce.

 

The Most Versatile Version of Olive Oil

Olive Oil | Infused Olive Oil | Fused Olive Oil | Extra Virgin Olive Oil

You can use multipurpose fine Virgin Olive Oil in almost any recipe. It is moderately priced despite being close in flavor to more expensive extra-virgin olive oils. Plus, you can use it in high-heat applications, so feel free to grab fine Virgin Olive Oil when you need to saute, pan fry, or stir-fry.

 

Fine Virgin Olive Oil is also the ideal choice when you want quality flavor but not that strong olive taste. Try these tips for fine Virgin Olive Oil in your kitchen:

 

  • Brush it on meats before grilling or broiling to seal in the meat flavor and juices and create a crispy exterior.
  • Add to eggs and drizzle over toast.
  • Sprinkle on brown rice.
  • Before refrigerating homemade pesto, add a thin layer of fine virgin olive oil on top of the sauce after putting it in a jar so the pesto will keep its green color.

 

Baking with Olive Oil

Olive Oil | Infused Olive Oil | Fused Olive Oil | Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Most people don’t think of using olive oil when baking, but it’s actually an incredible way to get more monounsaturated fat and polyphenolic compounds in your diet. Choose the lite, light, or mild type of olive oil for baking, especially savory breads and sweets such as cakes, cookies, and other desserts. Because of the filtration these types of oils have undergone, they withstand high-heat cooking methods.

Substituting Olive Oil for butter dramatically reduces the amount of fat — especially saturated fat — in your baked goods. And of course, Olive Oil does not contain any of butter’s cholesterol. You’ll also use less fat — you can substitute three tablespoons of Olive Oil for a quarter-cup of butter. The product still turns out as expected, but with 25 percent less fat, fewer calories, and more heart-healthy nutrients.

Olive oil can enhance the flavor of almost anything you eat. Now that you know how it gets to your table, you’ll know how to get the most out of it.

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