Sunday, October 16, 2005

Olives...MUFA's galore!...

Steady!’ll see what I mean by reading on…nutrition galore. Olives are wondrous things…since nutritionists are forever telling us that we must address the balance of what we eat, especially with regard to fats and cholesterol, interest in olives and olive oil has never been higher. Not a day passes when the virtues of the ‘Mediterranean diet’ have been promoted with increasing enthusiasm; you know what its like...all those onions and garlic, and tomato with everything...a diet high in cereals, fish, fruit and vegetables with the primary source of fat being olive oil.

To find out more about the olive plant, different cultivars and the methods of their cultivation go HERE or for an easy to read and fairly informative background into all things olive go HERE.

But oil is fat…fat is bad? No? Let’s quickly establish what’s what: there are various types of fat but they are not all bad; the main types are saturated and unsaturated fat and this latter can be further split into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. All types of fat are classified by this "saturation" and many foods contain all three types in different proportions.

Together, the three different types are known as "total fat" but it is important to note that each type has a different effect on the body. Each fat is made up of various fatty acids and each different fat will have a unique fatty acid profile containing SFA (saturated fatty acids) MUFA’s (monounsaturated fatty acids) and PUFA’s (polyunsaturated FA’s).

Published studies confirm that monounsaturated olive oil has many health benefits. While both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats lower the harmful LDL cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) in the body, monounsaturated fats maintain levels of the helpful HDL cholesterol (high density lipoproteins), but polyunsaturated oils reduce it. Despite all the known and presumed benefits of monounsaturated oils (Olive oil in general but also groundnut, nut and avocado oils…) it is the PUFA’s that are classed as essential fatty acids (EFA) because our bodies cannot synthesise them…it gets really complicated…go HERE for as good a place as any to get in really deep.

We know olive oil is high in these monounsaturated fats and among the health benefits are the lessening of risks of heart attacks and other circulatory problems, helping the digestive system to function more efficiently and is the edible fat most easily absorbed by the intestines and regulates the passage of food through the intestines, in fact one or two tablespoons of olive oil has a positive effect as a laxative and as if that is not enough, olive oil is considered a good food choice for expectant and nursing mothers since it is thought to encourage normal brain development in the infant before and after birth and at the other extreme in the autumn of our lives it may be helpful in preventing the wear and tear of age on the brain functions and the aging of organs and tissues in general.

Olive oil contains a high percentage of the monounsaturated oleic acid, the highest in fact at over 70% monounsaturated (with +/- 16% saturated and 10% polyunsaturated) Thus, it is a natural monounsaturated oil.

When shopping try to be selective, as always you pay for what you get so if the olive oil you want is 'surprisingly' cheap...well, enough said; always choose cold-pressed unrefined nut or seed oils or extra-virgin olive oil, this way you know that it has not undergone undue processes or chemical treatments, also if you can get it in dark glass all the better… I’m serious, read this “Find an extra virgin olive oil that is cold pressed, unfiltered, and looks cloudy. The oil should be packaged in dark glass bottles to protect it from the damaging effects of light. Real olive oil is still made in small estate bottled settings.”…then read more HERE.


Credit for the photograph of the olive selection: DECLAN MCCULLAGH PHOTOGRAPHY


Gavin Corder said...

Segar's newspaper strips also featured a number of Olive Oyl's relatives, including her brother Castor Oyl and their mother Nana Oyl (after "Banana Oil", a slang phrase of the time with roughly the same meaning as "bullshit").

Gavin Corder said...

You've suddenly got a zillion more profile views than me! Have you been cheating?

Gavin Corder said...

More's the point, HOW have you been cheating? Is it your bloody clock! Damn!

Span Ows said...


Re number of hits it bounced up this weekend from 71 to 91 then 100+...yippee...there is a visit counter you can get to put up on the actual blog page but I don't think we warrant that sprt of ego trip ....yet...;-)

Kayfer Kettle said...

Hey Span,

What I don't know about olives now, simply ain't worth knowing.

I bought some today from the olive man in town (he isn't there enough - grr!)and the big fat green ones stuffed with whole almonds are just lovely.

Still, favoruites are Spanish black, any variety or flavour you like.

Fruit of the Gods mate, fruit of the Gods.

On thw wine front, tonught I are been mostly drinking a really delicious Vouvray (Loire Valley), amde with Chenin grpaes.

Creamy and moreish!

Another glass? Oh go on then!


Kayfer Kettle said...

can you tell?

Span Ows said...

Hahahaha, thanks Lena, the greens are very bitter are only good marinated and stuffed...but that's enough about politics...

Six Years Late said...

A friend of mine has 9 olive trees in her back garden in Streatham. Sshe keeps them next to the house which appears to be cosy enough for them to thrive even through the winter and this year she's had a fine crop and is expecting to cure up to 30 jars. I can't wait for my little Christmas present.

Gavin Corder said...

Spammer am I? Now look here you! You'd miss me if I was gone!

Span Ows said...

Damn right I would! Thanks