Posts Tagged ‘Olive oil’

When it comes to dying, most of us want to live as long as possible. However, one thing that bothers us as we grow older is memory loss. Aging diminishes cognitive skills in everyone. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease increase in the elderly. Many issues may impact brain function, but diet is a leading cause we can alter. The good news is, eating certain foods makes a difference in how well we will think and remember in old age.

The journal, Neurology, reported on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. In a study of 17,000 men and women with an average age of 64, those who followed the Mediterranean diet were less likely to develop thinking and memory problems. However, the same wasn’t true of those with diabetes.

Epidemiology published a review of twelve research studies. In nine studies, those who followed the Mediterranean diet had better mental function with lower rates of cognitive decline and reduced risks for Alzheimer’s disease.

What is the Mediterranean diet? Unlike other diets that tell you what to eat and what to avoid, the Mediterranean diet is a pattern for eating. Its name originated from the sixteen plus countries in the region of the Mediterranean Sea where certain foods are plentiful. Residents in the area seem less prone to many common diseases that plague Americans.

The Mediterranean plan is mostly a matter of switching certain types food for a different choice. The diet uses generous portions of fruits and vegetables as well as bread, cereals, beans, nuts and seeds. Olive oil is an important part of the diet with limited amounts of saturated fats and trans fats. Those who follow the Mediterranean plan eat very few red meats and consumed dairy products, fish and poultry  in low to moderate amounts.

While some studies found that the Ornish and Pritikin diets, both extremely low in fat, gave similar results, the Mediterranean diet has proven beneficial in improving or maintaining cognitive function.

One thing is certain. There are no definite treatments for dementia. Your best bet is prevention. To keep from losing your mind, reduce the onset of symptoms through adequate physical and mental exercise and eat more foods found in the Mediterranean dietary pattern.


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Touted as the nectar of the gods, how do you choose the right olive oil for your use? The degree of acid and the method of extraction determine the different types. Higher quality oils have a lower acid content.

  • Extra virgin comes from the first pressing of the olives, known as cold-pressed. It has 1% acid and ranges in color from champagne to greenish-gold to bright green. The deeper the color, the more intense the olive flavor. This oil is more expensive and has a very low smoking point. It is best used in salads and foods that don’t require heat.
  • Virgin olive oil has 1-3% acid and is also from first-pressed olives. Use it for low temperature cooking.
  • Fino (fine) olive oil is a blend of extra virgin and virgin olive oils.
  • Light indicates color and fragrance. Light has the same amount of calories as other varieties. Because of its negligible olive flavor and higher smoking point, this oil is great for cooking, baking, and frying.

The US government does not regulate label information for olive oils. Labels with North American Olive Oil Association assure the product meets standards of the industry. The following applies to all types of olive oils.

  • Storage:          Store in a cool dark place for up to 6 months. You can refrigerate for one year, but it will turn cloudy. Cloudiness dissipates when the oil is left at room temperature.
  • Nutrition:       Most people know olive oil is healthier than other vegetable oils. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats which may help reduce the risks of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL). All types of olive oil contain about 45-50 calories per teaspoon.

Choose the olive oil most suited for your use and flavor, and then enjoy this nectar of the gods for better health.

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