Category Archives: Health benefits of Olive Oil

Crusading for Better Olive Oil Standards

Here’s a fine little article from The Washing Post’s Lifestyle section about the crusade to improve olive oil categorizing. As major olive oil producers, we at Mamamiafoods can attest to how frustrating it is that garbage oils are being labeled as high quality oils and that consumers don’t know they’re being bamboozled. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the variety of acclaimed health benefits of olive oil, and there are SO MANY, are predicated on the substance actually being high quality olive oil and not some blend of oils or some cheap, over-exposed oils or whatnot.

Anywhere, here is an excerpt of the story. The story itself is just two pages and worth reading:

It has been about 30 years since many Americans began giving up their lard and Crisco for more-healthful extra-virgin oil. But that extra-virgin label has proved a poor guide to choosing the highest-quality oils. According to a recent study by the UC Davis Olive Center, 73 percent of the top five brands of imported extra-virgin olive oil failed to meet accepted international standards for extra-virgin. Moreover, a separate report revealed that 44 percent of consumers actually preferred rancid or fusty oil, a possible result of the prevalence of substandard extra-virgins available to American consumers.

Our high-quality olive oils meet or exceed THE HIGHEST testing standards and we have all the certifications to prove it.


Olive Oil: Super Food

On this blog, we’ve chronicled a litany of health benefits from consumption of olive oil ranging from a reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes to reduced incidence of heart disease, and this new finding is every bit as big a deal: New study finds that olive oil may protect against strokes.

Pour some more of that EVOO on your plate — a new French study finds that eating more olive oil could be linked with lower stroke risk in older people. The results of the study by the University of Bordeaux and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research were published in the online issue of Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Olive oil can help you avoid this.

Medical records of 7,625 people 65 and older who lived in three French cities were examined by researchers to determine how their olive oil consumption affected their chances of having a stroke. The participants had no history of stroke at the beginning of the study. In this study, participants were surveyed about how much olive oil they consumed: About 23 percent used none, 40 percent were moderate users (cooking with it or using it as a dressing or with bread) and about 37 percent were intensive users (using it in cooking and as a dressing or with bread).

In an average 5.25 years of follow-up, 148 strokes occurred. Those who were intensive users had a 41 percent lower stroke risk compared to those who never used olive oil. Researchers arrived at that number after adjusting for such factors as body mass index, other stroke risk factors, diet and physical activity. The results were statistically significant for ischemic stroke (caused by blockage of an artery to the brain) but not hemorrhagic stroke (caused by the rupture of a blood vessel).

Studies continually conclude that extra virgin olive oil is one of the absolute best substances you can put in your body if you want to live a long, healthy life.

Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes With the Mediterranean Diet

Don't have diabetes and want to keep it that way? Olive Oil helps.

It’s official: there’s another proven benefit for a diet high in real olive olive — a reduced chance of contracting type 2 diabetes. The study, which can be found here, came to the following conclusion:

MedDiets without calorie restriction seem to be effective in the prevention of diabetes in subjects at high cardiovascular risk.

The increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes throughout the world, closely linked to westernized dietary patterns, physical inactivity, and raising rates of obesity, is a challenging health problem. Lifestyle changes are effective measures to prevent diabetes, and weight loss is the main predictor of success. Five clinical trials that examined the effects of reputedly healthy, energy-restricted diets together with increased physical activity in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance, a prediabetic stage, showed risk reductions between 30 and 70%. The results of these studies provide convincing evidence that lifestyle modification reduces the incidence of diabetes among high-risk individuals. In four of these studies, diabetes rates decreased in relation to substantial reductions in body weight, whereas in the Indian trial lifestyle intervention was successful despite no weight loss. Observational studies have also shown that diets rich in vegetables and low in red meat and whole-fat dairy products are associated with a decreased risk of diabetes, whereas dietary patterns rich in red meats, processed foods, refined grains, and sweets increase diabetes risk.

The traditional Mediterranean diet (MedDiet), characterized by high consumption of vegetables, legumes, grains, fruits, nuts, and olive oil, moderate consumption of fish and wine, and low consumption of red and processed meat and whole-fat dairy products, is widely recognized as a healthy dietary pattern. Two prospective studies from Southern Europe suggested a lower incidence of diabetes with increasing adherence to the MedDiet in previously healthy individuals or myocardial infarction survivors. Recently, a clinical trial showed that, compared with a low-fat diet, a MedDiet allowed better glycemic control and delayed the need for antidiabetes drug treatment in patients with newly diagnosed diabetes. However, the role of the MedDiet in the prevention of diabetes has not been tested in a clinical trial.

We conducted a randomized controlled trial to compare the effect on diabetes incidence of three non–calorie-restricted nutritional interventions: a low-fat diet (control diet), a MedDiet enriched with virgin olive oil, and a MedDiet enriched with mixed nuts

Olive oil is truly emerging as one of the four or five “super-foods” with across-the-board health benefits. Make sure it’s a part of your daily intake.

“Irreparable Damage”

The Australians have joined the fight against fraudulent labeling of olive oil:

The International Olive Council this week attacked research from the University of California’s Davis Olive Centre and the Australian Oils Research Laboratory which found 73 per cent of samples from the five top-selling imported extra-virgin olive oil brands in the US failed IOC standards for classification as extra virgin. The study also found oils were below par because of exposure to high temperatures and light; age; adulteration with cheaper refined oil; or because they were made from damaged and overripe olives, were improperly stored, or had processing flaws.

IOC executive director Jean-Louis Barjol said the research findings had an “undercurrent of aggressive, inexplicable criticism of imported olive oil quality”. “This could cause irreparable damage to the reputation of olive oil, which it has taken so much time and effort to achieve and maintain,” Mr Barjol said.

Australian Olive Association president Paul Miller said Mr Barjol’s remarks were a standard response from the IOC, which had accredited the two laboratories used in the study. “It’s hypocritical because last time they said this, not long afterwards the Spanish government did some testing and found the same problem in Spain,” Mr Miller said. “They just don’t like people finding things wrong.

“They say everything that’s made in Europe conforms (to the standards) and we know that’s not the case.” Mr Miller applauded the work by the University of California, which also failed samples from an Australian oil, Cobram Estate, because it had spent too long on the shelf. “It was old and that was the point of the test,” he said.The IOC is based in Madrid, Spain, and has 23 member states.

As well as Cobram Estate, the oils bought from California supermarkets and subjected to sensory and chemical testing for the study were: Filippo Berio, Bertolli, Pompeian, Colavita, Star, California Olive Ranch and the top-selling brand from Italy, Lucini.

It’s great that the backlash against fraud has finally been taken note of in the media. Those of us who produce authentic, high quality oils have been damaged for decades by unscrupulous produces of cheap, inferior, blended gunk. If anyone has been irreparably damaged, however, it’s the consumer, who purchases what he thinks is high quality extra-virgin olive oil, but instead of getting all the health benefits thereof, has instead been putting nut oils and other impurities into his body. Not only is he not enjoying better health, he might be poisoning himself over time, especially if he has but allergies! It’s disgraceful.

Olive oil is made from these:

These are olives.

Olive oil is not made from these:

These are not olives.

Spanish Pomace-Olive Oil Industry in Trouble!

Is your olive oil blended with pomace oil (Yuck!)? Or are you using the real thing, produced in Sicily?

As a result of plunging olive oil prices growers in Spain are gearing up for protests which could disrupt one of the country’s most import farm production sectors. The leading Spanish farm COAG union estimated that average farm-gate prices last month were €1.85 per kilo, compared to costs of €2.49 last year and that Spain’s olive farmers have accrued losses of €1.9 billion in the past three seasons. Their solution? They want the government to purchase and store large quantities of olive oil until prices pick up. Further complicating the problem, Spain’s Small Farmers’ Union (UPA) has called for a food marker on olive pomace oil in order to prevent fraud. The union is worried that some producers might mix olive oil with pomace oil in order to make up for the fall in prices of virgin olive oil.

UPA Andalusia Regional Secretary Agustín Rodríguez said while the practice is banned in Spain, some packers may be tempted to mix the oils in order to “minimize the continuing losses in a market in which generic brands are eating away at brand olive oil”. He said the “scandalously” low price of olive oil makes it difficult to compete and there is a risk of an increase in practices that go against the quality of the product.

Well there’s a surprise! (Not.) Newsflash: most of them already do, which is one reason for the ever-continuing downward pressure on price. Producer A blends his oil to undercut the competition, so Producers B, C, D follow suit in order to stay competitive. Soon the entire Spanish market is blended gunk, producers are selling at a loss, and everyone is begging for a handout from the European Union during a global “recession.”

The truth is that if someone wants real olive oil, he wants Sicilian olive oil. 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil made from first-pressed, old-stone-pressed Sicilian olives picked no more than 12 hours prior to this extraction. That’s what we produce and sell at Mamamiafoods. We’ve been doing precisely this for hundreds of years — we have olive trees in our groves which have been producing the highest quality olives for 800 years! It’s hard to compete with Sicily in olive oil production without cheating (blending) as you can see from this news. Have you had your dose of healthy Sicilian olive oil today?

Olive Oil: The New Tool to Battle Mental Illness and Depression

A new study that has been conducted at the University of Navarra and the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has determined that a diet that is rich in olive oil can go a long way in helping to prevent mental illness. There were a little over 12,000 people who took part in the study. The people were part of a group called the SUN project, which is made up of Spanish university graduates and alumni who partake in various medical and clinical trials.

The trial lasted over 6 years and when it was over, 675 of the patients were found to be suffering from some kind of depression or mental disorder. Still this study with olive oil goes to prove points that have already been made by diets such as the Mediterranean Diet which is also noted for its medical benefits and fight against depression.
Spanish researchers about two years ago found out the Mediterranean Diet and ones that use olive oil, vegetables, beans, and fruits could decrease a person’s symptoms of depression by a whopping 30 percent.

Another correlation that some of these researchers have been able to make is that with olive oil and its helping with hypertension, there could be a direct connection between heart health and depression. Researchers were able to find out that people who suffer from heart disease and those who suffer from mental illness seem to have the same outlook at food and diet. An olive oil rich diet could help these people get back on track and live a stress free and healthy life.

More Health Benefits of Olive Oil

This story comes from John Phillip of Natural News:

Systemic inflammation is a significant factor known to accelerate the aging process and is an underlying mechanism behind most chronic illnesses including cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. Low grade inflammation increases body temperature and initiates degradation of the delicate endothelial lining of the vascular system. This process is known to cause metabolic instability and is linked with the proliferation of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia. Polyphenols from extra virgin olive oil have been shown to significantly reduce the expression of genes that trigger systemic inflammation and can be used along with natural diet to lower the risks from cardiovascular disease.

Olive Oil and Greens Lower Risk of Heart Disease by More Than 40%
The protective nature of a diet high in raw leafy greens and olive oil cannot be understated. Leafy greens and raw green vegetables are packed with folate, which is known to lower levels of circulating homocysteine that increases risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Olive oil contains powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals before they can deteriorate normal metabolic function.

The outcome of an Italian study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrates how a natural diet of greens and vegetables and olive oil can slash the risk from cardiovascular disease by nearly half. Researchers collected dietary data from 30,000 middle-aged women and compared the cardiac event occurrence during an 8 year period.

They found that women with the highest daily consumption (one serving or about 2 ounces) of raw vegetables such as spinach or endive had a 46% lower risk of developing heart disease compared with women eating less than 2 servings per week. The authors also found that consuming at least an ounce of extra virgin olive oil each day lowered the risk of a cardiac event by 44% compared to those who consumed a half-ounce or less. The authors concluded that there is “an inverse association between increasing consumption of leafy vegetables and olive oil and CHD risk.”

Olive Oil Tames Inflammation by Influencing Genes
Extra virgin olive oil is packed with antioxidant compounds and squalene that directly regulate genes that trigger inflammation in the body. The result of a study published in the journal BMC Genomics demonstrated the effect of olive oil on white blood cells that mount an inflammatory response when potential invaders are detected.

The oil was found to reverse the deleterious effect of inflammation caused by stress, obesity, high blood pressure and blood glucose. Extra virgin olive oil turns off multiple inflammatory genes that are activated as a consequence of metabolic syndrome, effectively providing a protective shield against cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses driven by persistent inflammation.

Systemic inflammation represents a serious health concern to an aging population and those at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. A solid body of science confirms the health promoting effects bestowed by a raw diet of leafy green vegetables and powerful antioxidants found in extra virgin olive oil. Be certain to include these tasty food choices in your daily menu to ensure vibrant health and longevity.