THE NOT SO HUMBLE ANCIENT AND EXTRAORDINARY OLIVE. FOR BETTER HEALTH, LONGER LIFE AND HAPPIER TASTEBUDS
My daughter popped olives as a baby more readily than sweets. Today she is a grown woman who still devours the antipasti in restaurants spearing the green bullets and with relish.
This unique food is a permanent in our pantry in both oil or sphere.
The reality is that this tiny fleshy bite is a packed bomb of better health.
The history of olives and olive oil can be traced back to at the least biblical times. When the waters of the great flood subsided and Noah sent forth a dove it was an olive leaf she returned carrying in her mouth. It is known that as long as 6000 years ago olive oil was used as fuel in lamps.
So, it seems synonymous with our ancient history, the very fact that our olive family is still alive and well. That is an understatement! 1 out of 3 people neither care or have even tasted olives, or if they have, find them unpleasant. Philistines! Olives have been around so long in jars, and bottles as a condiment, that we barely give it a second thought! Most annoyingly, most olive lovers or haters, have not a clue, what else an olive can do, to improve health, more than any other food.
I swear to you that if only one truckload of extra virgin olive oil left in the world, people would kill for it.
Well, let’s reflect on the distinct advantages of our beloved olive.
No placebo effect….
Scientists are always looking to plants to find medicinal and therapeutic secrets. Discoveries of natural compounds within the olive tree, and olives, provide promising health giving and medical benefits. Organic olive oil has significant health related properties, that do great things for yoru cardio and sex life. Hey, the Greeks knew that much. If in doubt check out their rather more exotic sex pottery that would make an Ann Summers party blush bigtime!!( I will spare you the details!)
Olives and there medicinal magic has spanned centuries and cultures in the Mediterranean. Yet, only the few that study the history of the fleshy jade pellet, know a smidgeon, of the green gems infinite power.
Trust me! I kid you not!
The Mediterranean olive dates back 6000 years and was native to Iran, Syria and Palestine (Asia Minor). From there it spread to the Mediterranean basin. It is one of the earliest known cultivated trees. According to the Bible, an olive leaf was that which a dove brought back to Noah, as an indication, the great flood waters were abating.
The olive tree thrives best, in a sunny position and climate. A rocky, dry subsoil suits it well. The trunk is knotty, hard, and gnarled, the bark smooth and ash coloured. Olive wood is valuable for its durability and is crafted into many items such as gourmet cooking utensils. That observation always flummoxed me! How in the ground of the hell, where this Hogwarts giant grows, is devoid of moisture! How can such an ugly monstrosity give birth to a green bell of sumptuousness?
The olive tree experiences slow growth, but it lives very long. It is reported that the olive trees on Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, are over 2000 years old! Tenacious it is! Lovable warts, on the blistered landscape, is not the word. Commonly believed the Bible passage of “the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine,” refers to the olive tree. Olive leaves are silver grey-green, and possesses the health qualities of “olive leaf extract” which is pressed from them. Extracted from olive leaves is a bitter substance named oleuropein.
In the 1960’s researchers reported that oleuropein lowered blood pressure in animals, this caused immediate medicinal interest in the olive leaf. There are new studies that indicate olive leaf extract may be a natural preventative against the common cold and flu. I put an olive in one ear, and a garlic clove in the other and ‘drank’ a table spoon of olive oil! Yes, I slept with these objects ‘smushed’ into each ear! I was totally nobbled, and bashed by a good old British snotter and rotten ear infection! A heavy, miserable, good old fashioned cold!
24 hours later it was gone!
What struck me on a trip to Kos was the many olive groves seen from the plane, as we swooped to land on such a small island. It’s a chief industry and so many islanders are dependent on this lush fruit. I love the smell, from these spooky looking trees. I use olive oil on my toast, all other meals, in my bath, on my hair, rubbed on dry elbows! Its stave off all those pesky wrinkles much longer. I’m an Olive Oil junkie! It caresses you inside and out! I will put my life on that fact!
The Great Egyptian Olive Connection
The olive is believed to be a source of wealth for the Minoan Kingdom. Egyptians tombs dating back as far as 2000 BC have been proved to contain olives. The Greeks spread the usage of olives to the Romans who, in turn, spread it across their vast empire. The use of olive oil has been advocated by many religions and cultures. The early Greek Kings were anointed with olive oil. It was also used to anoint winning Olympic athletes. Across many cultures, olive oil is recognized for healthy benefits for both the inner and outward body.
In brine or oil olives or straight off the tree or deli olives come in, so many varieties and sizes.
I know, in my case, as I live on, I love pasta more…… but a pasta without ‘black or greens’ is naked without them!
The health benefits of olive oil in the Mediterranean diet, has become much more than a novel observation. Clinical research is substantiating healthy benefits, but the average ‘Olive Gourmet’, boost tastes and flavours, that abound from so many dishes, and are bonuses, well worth mentioning, too.
“The… patient should be made to understand, that he or she, must take charge of his or her own life. Don’t take your body to the doctor, as if he were a repair shop.” — Quentin Regestein
Highly favoured as a fabulous cooking oil, or for use in a variety of classic dressings, olive oil is being touted in some quarters, as a delicious companion for good health, anti-ageing, better sex and healing inside and out! TRUE!
Research on the health benefits of olive oil is impressive, so is, the many effects of the Mediterranean diet.
Olive Oil as a Cholesterol Reducer
Compared to American cuisine, especially the snack and fast foods prevalent in the US, the Mediterranean Diet has intrigued the medical world. The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has published findings that indicate the introduction of olive oil into our regular diet has demonstrated a reduction in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). This is significant because once LDL cholesterol has oxidized it often results in artery rigidity and accompanying heart disease.
Olive Oil in Cancer Prevention
In a comparison study at the University Hospital Germans Trias Pujol in Barcelona there seems to be an indication that the health benefits of olive oil may also be useful in the prevention or slowing of cancer cells. In the study, lab rats were introduced to a carcinogen that resulted in cancerous tumours. The study provides evidence that a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil prevents colonic carcinogenesis reducing precancerous tissue which resulted in fewer tumours when compared to a controlled sample of rats ingesting foods containing other types of cooking oils.
Researchers at Oxford University in England have seen indications that olive oil may actually be as good for our digestive system as fresh fruit and vegetables in preventing or reducing the incidence of colon cancer. While red meat seems to be linked to the development of colon cancer, fish and olive oil seemed to reduce the incidence of colon cancer. The reasons behind this phenomena are still being considered, but it is believed that the olive oil may help regulate the bile acid in the stomach while increasing useful enzymes within the stomach that contribute to optimal colon health.
Olive oil has been widely used in your salads as well as many other things. It is one of healthiest components to make your food taste better. This oil comes directly from the Mediterranean Region and it has become so famous that it has been used in all the continents. It is a favourite among all the health conscious people. Due to the immense number of benefits, it has been ranked among the top nutrition provider. It has been widely used in soaps making it mild and very skin friendly. It also helps to moisturize your body by the use of this oil in the soap.
Home Made Recipes
If you want to have smooth and fine nails olive oil is the best solution. Dowse your nails in a cup of olive oil for 30 minutes and find the best results.
Apply Olive oil liberally on your hands. To avoid spreading it elsewhere, wear cotton gloves. This method helps you to get a smoother and softer skin.
Olive oil is the best solution for chapped lips. It does wonders to your lips.
To have beautiful, lustrous, shiny, silky and dandruff free hair, olive oil is the best bet. You can apply good amount of oil on your hair and cover it with a shower cap for 30 minutes, later shampoo it.
It is great moisturizing solution which makes your skin softer and smoother.
To make yourself an interesting bathing solution you can add 3-4 tbsp of olive oil with a few drops of essential oil.
You can make an excellent night cream by using 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup water. This helps to lighten your skin, kill bacteria and makes your skin smooth and clear.
It can work as a cleansing cream if you have dry skin.
Apply olive oil and then scrub with good amount of sugar. Later, wipe the sugar off your face with wet and warm cloth. One of the easiest ways to get facial done.
Soften your feet by applying olive oil on your feet.
Mix in bowl 1 egg, 1 tsp honey, 1/2 tsp olive oil and few drops of rose water. Use this as a mask for dry skin. Once applied keep it for some time, later rinse it off with warm water. Dab it dry.
Make a paste by mixing some mashed apricots and warm olive oil. Apply this paste all over your face and leave it for 10 minutes. Wash it off with water.
Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautions while following instructions on the recipes from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
Olive Oil and Heart Health
The American Heart Association has also noted that consumption of olive oil has “clear health benefits”.
Olive Oil and Lower Blood Pressure
By substituting virgin olive oil for other fats within your diet, the Archives of Internal Medicine indicates a substantial reduction in drug dosage requirements for the management of high blood pressure. Initial findings indicate dosage reductions could be as high as 50%.
By lowering the level of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) there is an increase of the HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). The antioxidant effects of olive oil have also been widely reported and are effective in reducing free radicals within the body that may prove to be a causal agent in pre- cancerous and cancerous growth.
Additional health benefits of olive oil may be found in a Mediterranean diet which explores the varied uses of olive oil in both food preparation as well as additional balanced meal choices. Combined, olive oil and appropriate food choice seem to enhance the overall health of those subscribing to the Mediterranean diet.
While studies remain ongoing, it is encouraging to note that something that has long been noted for good taste may also be a link to positive health benefits and longevity of life. An adaptation of the Mediterranean diet may be a healthy, yet palatable change well worth considering.
Some research indicates extra-virgin olive oil is the most digestible of the edible fats. Olive oil also it helps to assimilate vitamins A, D and K in the human body. Benefits of consuming olive oil include slowing down the aging process and helps liver, bile, and intestinal functions. Olive oil is valued for its culinary attributes and organoleptic virtues, these being: flavour, bouquet or aroma, and colour. Various grades of olive oil are derived from the time of pressing. Earlier pressings are regarded as better quality. Cold pressed olive oil is a pressing process requiring no heat or chemicals, which destroy vital nutrients. This olive oil is generally the best to use for cooking and healthy cuisine.
Olive oil has been extensively used in cooking and forms an integral part of the basic Mediterranean diet. It is a healthier substitute to butter. Strong and pungent flavoured olive oils are great for frying fish or other items having a strong flavour. Extra virgin olive oil goes well with salads. A late harvest mission variety olive oil, which is mellow, can be used for baking cakes. Gourmet olive oil is a healthier and tastier substitute to other fatty cooking oils. The health benefits of cold pressed olive oil already have federal agency approval. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized marketing ads that say organic olive oil helps reduce the risk of coronary disease and disorders.
Given below is a simple recipe for olive oil bread dipping sauce.
Bread Dipping Sauce
Servings : 2 – 4
Preparation time : 10 minutes
½ cup virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced (Italian parsley is best)
1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed well
1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste
Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and sauté till it changes colour. Add all the other ingredients and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Serve as a bread dip.
Today in modern grocery stores there are dozens of gourmet olives widely available. Gone are the days of canned black olives and green olives with pimentos as the only choices. For those of us who remember the days of opening a can of black olives and placing one on each finger then systematically biting them off here is the new olive.
Nicoises: Is an earthy rich olive commonly used in salad. The curing of this olive in red-wine vinegar gives it a distinctive taste.
Green olives with herbs de Provence: This vibrant citrus flavoured olive is a delightful blend of herbs de Provence spices and large green olives. It is an excellent choice to use in surf dishes and with sweet spices.
Mount Athos green with Sicilian herbs: This is a second olive that utilizes herbs to dominate the pallet. Rosemary, garlic, mustard seed, and red pepper flakes give this olive a spicy appeal.
Mount Athos green stuffed with garlic: For a modern twist on the martini this olive is an excellent choice. It is stuffed with rich flavourful garlic and lends itself well to pizza as well as martinis.
Mount Athos green olives with sun-dried tomatoes: Sun-dried tomatoes give this heavy olive an intense flavour that is sophisticated and ideal for snacking.
Sun-dried olives: The drying of this olive gives it a rich flavor that blends wonderfully in sauces for serving over pasta.
Kalamatas: A tangy black olive cured in red-wine vinegar that can be from Italy or California. The
California variety is denoted with a ‘c’ spelling rather than a ‘k’.
Alfonsos: This robust winey tasting olive is soft and similar to the kalamata. It is a popular choice in antipasto salads.
Halkididis: Very similar in flavour to the kalamatas this olive is excellent blended with cream cheese and garlic for a flavourful dip.
Lucques: This meaty buttery olive contains pits but is still a wonderful choice with provolone cheese and bruchetta.
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