The article below is about a recent study that found eating the right fats could actually help reduce weight. The basic finding is that oleic acid is transformed in the small intestine into a chemical that sends a signal to the brain that you are full. Olive oil is up to 80% oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fat. The article focuses on the prospect on using this finding to create a new class of anti-obesity drugs. But why not just take the natural drug of real extra virgin olive along with all its other anti-oxidant benefits?
Below is a link to an article about a recent study that indicates olive oil may protect against bowel disease. It found that the oleic acid found in olive oil may aid in blocking chemicals that aid in inflammation that causes the disease. Oleic acid is a mono-unsaturated fat and is the primary fat found in olive oil.
Below is an excerpt from an email sent from the California Olive Oil Council to its members. This is excellent news because it will greatly reduce the amount of mislabeled olive oil on supermarket shelves in the US.
On Wednesday, April 28, 2010, standards for olive oil were published in the
USDA Federal Register. The standards will take effect October 24, 2010.
This is an historic achievement for the California olive oil industry as
well as consumers and retailers.
The petition, filed by the California Olive Oil Council in August 2005,
sought to set in place standards for grades of olive oil in the United
States, especially extra virgin. Heretofore, the absence of federal
standards allowed some unscrupulous importers to flood the US market with
mislabeled oils and misleading claims.
The standard will:
* Provide legal reference definitions for any government agency that takes
enforcement action against mislabeling
* Provide buyers in commerce with a common language of clearly defined US
grades of olive oil
* Serve notice to unscrupulous importers that the United States will no
longer be a haven for mislabeled low grades of olive oil or other oils
claiming to be olive oil
* Raise public awareness of the differences between extra virgin and other
grades of olive oil
* Inform the consumer by including taste (organoleptic) as well as chemical
testing requirements for olive oil
* Become the foundation on which an infrastructure of grading and testing
can be built
The link below is to a Spanish study that indicates that real extra virgin olive oil is good for your heart because of the phenol compounds. This is similar to a previous article in our blog on real extra virgin olive oil and cancer. This is important because, once again, it is not just because olive oil is a mono-unsaturated fat that makes it good for the heart but because real extra virgin olive oil contains phenol compounds. These phenol compounds reduce inflammation which is a major cause of heart disease. And, once again, only real extra virgin olive oil contains phenol compounds.
Below is the best article I have read on cooking with extra virgin olive oil. In essence, the phenolitic compounds found in high quality extra virgin olive oil protect the oil during the cooking process so it does not break down into harmful substances. Low quality olive oils do not have these compounds so it is actually more harmful, not less harmful, to cook with them. There are many other factors that make high quality extra virgin olive oil the best choice for cooking. I highly recommend reading the entire article.
Below is a fun article on making flatbread with olive oil from the New York Times. It is amazing how versatile olive oil can be. I keep learning new ways to use it which encourages me to also conduct my own experiments.
Below is a link to a recent study done at Harvard University that found replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats may reduce your risk of heart disease by 20 percent more than just reducing fat intake. This is significant because it implies the low-fat craze is not the healthiest approach. Our body needs fats so why not consume healthy fats. Extra virgin olive oil has both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and is one of the healthiest fats around. One fun way of replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats is to replace butter with real extra virgin olive oil in desserts. We have a wonderful carrot cake recipe on our site that does exactly this and it is yummy. You can find the recipe here.
Below is a link to a recent study that is the first of its kind to investigate the effect of different components of the Mediterranean diet. They looked at large samples of people who loosely followed the Mediterranean diet but at the same time left out certain components of it. What they found is not surprising. The major benefit of the diet occurs when all elements are included. In other words it is very synergistic. Our modern tendency is to seek single ‘active ingredients’ and turn them into drugs. However this study suggests that a whole range of beneficial eating habits is what does the trick. The most important components were moderate intake of alcohol and a low consumption of meat, with a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, olive oil and legumes. Read the article.
I cooked the roasted cauliflower recipe mentioned below and it was very good. The rich nuttiness of the roasted cauliflower compliments very nicely the tangy caper dressing. I cooked it for an hour and the cauliflower was nicely browned so I took it out. It was very crisp, almost too much, so I think next time I will add a little water to the dish while it is baking to cook the cauliflower through a little bit more. After you take it out you kind of wonder how do you serve a whole head of cauliflower. Next time I will cut the cooked cauliflower in quarters then pour the dressing on to make sure each serving gets a lot of the tangy dressing. I will definitely do this again. It was very simple to cook but the flavor was very elegant. It turns a boring cauliflower into something special.
One of my favorite recipe sites is www.recipezaar.com. It has over 400,000 recipes that are searchable. The recipes range from the novice cook to the very experienced. In style they range from the typical American recipes to the exotic. There is something here for everybody.
Often at night I will go to the site and search for a few ingredients I have in my fridge or pantry. I invariably get many choices that are rated by other users along with reviews. I typically read at least ten of them along with the reviews of people who have actually cooked the recipe. I then generally print out the recipe that comes the closest to what I want to cook then add ideas from all the others I have read. I have rarely been disappointed. It also gives me a lot of ideas I would not have thought of myself.
The other night I was tired of my typical chicken thigh recipe so I found a new recipe from http://www.recipezaar.com that removes the skin, coats with spicy mustard and worchestershire sauce, then coats in seasoned breadcrumbs and bakes at 375 for 40 minutes. It was very simple and tasty. This is just one example of simple but tasty recipes on the site.
Happy recipe hunting!