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Food For Thought

Olive oil is best when it is extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil of the highest quality can become expensive but note that each drop of it is good for the body and soul! We use for the restaurant extra virgin olive oil from the brand “De Cecco”, “Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva”.
When buying olive oil, look in the back on the label for how much saturated and unsaturated fats it contains. Ours at the restaurant has per 100 ml; 14, 5 g saturated fat, 68, 2 g mono-unsaturated fat and 8, 7 g poly unsaturated fat. Another very important point to read on the label is; superior category olive oil, obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means. Indeed, directly from olives and not olive paste or other remains after pressing (so called “Pomace”). Mechanical means; this is interesting as no chemicals, heat or other influences have been used to obtain the oil. We have seen that heat can change the molecular structures of oil into transfats which the body not even recognizes and which stay solid in the blood stream. Chemicals are to be avoided at any cost. Olive oil of this quality is rich in Vitamin E and vegetable substances that render it a good source of anti oxidants. Olive oil is very stable even when using it for cooking, good olive oil when heated will give off a good intense smell and when heated to normal frying temperatures (150-175 degrees) it will not turn black or start smoking.
The same principles for buying olive oil apply for the other oils mentioned in the previous issue. However I recommend only olive oil for cooking. We use the different other oils; Flax Seed, Walnut and Rape oil only in the preparation of dressings and as flavor intensifiers on a dish, applied cold. For example an extra drop Flax oil on a pasta dish or piece of Baked Fish.
Another good thing to know is that the absorption of carbohydrates (call them sugars) are slowed down by fats. So dipping your bread in a bit of olive oil is not only good, it also helps with keeping the blood sugar level in balance. Instead of butter or margarine on your potato try some olive oil! When you teach your kids this practice from kid onwards they will do it for life and will be grateful to you!
The local supermarkets have huge isles with imported olive and other oils. What I suggest is next time shopping take a little time in this section and buy maybe two or three kinds of extra virgin cold pressed olive oils, read the labels carefully. Then the taste will decide which one you will choose!!
Consider for example that instead of gold or silver crowns in the old Greek Olympic Games they crowned the winning athletes with a crown of Olive Leave Branches. The olive tree is considered near sacred in the Mediterranean region. It is believed that the olive gives a long life and actually this is true!
The 3 main reasons why olive oil and olives are healthy is because; olives and olive oil hold different kinds of anti-oxidants (phenols) and vitamin E, olives and olive oil has only simple unsaturated fats that in contrast to the multiple unsaturated fats are more stable and oxidize more difficultly, olive oil can bring down the levels of cholesterol in the blood, specially the bad LDL cholesterol!
Some 50 anti oxidants have been found in olive oil, additional vitamin E makes that when eating olive oil regularly the body becomes “cleansed” as such of free radicals. Anywhere in the body where oxygen is available, free radicals start the process of oxidizing. The powerful anti oxidants and Vitamin E from olive oil eliminate the anti oxidants causing fats to oxidize in the arteries. These oxidized fats clog the veins and are responsible for strokes and heart attacks.
We serve as a pre-meal snack at the restaurant different kinds of marinated olives, olive paste and some kind of mousse to spread on the bread. NO MORE BUTTER…These snacks are readily available in the local supermarkets and I suggest and eat them myself regularly as snack. Instead of a bag of greasy crisps, try some marinated olives, walnuts, hazelnuts, some bits of parmesan cheese…

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