OIL AND HEALTH
David B. Kaminsky, M.D.,
Executive Vice President United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, Recipient of the American Society of Cytopathology President’s Award 2001, Papanicolaou Award 2002,
and America's Top Doctors 2004
WHY EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL IS GOOD FOR YOU
In recent years, international scientific research has proved the benefits of Mediterranean diet. Common diseases in Western countries, such as cardiovascular illness, some cancers, diabetes, and obesity, have been found to be less frequent where the Mediterranean diet is an established habit. The British Medical Journal (April 2005) has declared that “those who followed the Mediterranea diet more closely had a lower overall mortality, with a reduction of 11-14%”.
It all began in the 1960s, with the “Seven Countries Study”, which proved for the first time the existence of a close correlation between levels of cholesterol, incidence of miocardial infarction, and type of diet. It is known that the incidence of cardiovascular pathologies in the Mediterranean peoples is much lower than in the populations of northern Europe and North America. This low incidence has been attributed to the Mediterranean diet, in which animal fats (butter, red meat, etc.) are in general consumed only a few times a month and, especially, to the use of extra virgin olive oil as the only “visible” fat in the diet.
Today, scientific data on the role of extra virgin olive oil have now led researchers to conclude that many of the cardioprotective and anticancer effects of the Mediterranean diet are due to the use of extra virgin olive oil (rich in polyphenols) and that it protects against much more than coronary heart disease, hypertension, thrombosis, carcinomas, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, and the rest. The elevated content of antioxidants contributes, in fact, to combatting cognitive problems related to cerebral ageing and also to longevity: in Italy and Greece life expectancy is greater than in the countries of northern Europe despite the continuing greater percentage of smokers.
How does it work?
A suitable contribution of polyunsaturated fatty acids reduces the concentrations of total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) without reducing the levels of HDL (good cholesterol), thus helping to prevent hyperlipidemia and also to keep blood sugar under control in diabetics.
In addition, unlike vegetable oils (which are “extracted” from seeds by means of solvents), only extra virgin olive oil (and not common olive oil) derives from a fresh fruit and contains all the components of the olive itself. Of these, the polyphenolic fraction is particularly important for its proven “pharmacological” activities. The polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil are potent antioxidants in our blood, more potent than vitamin E, which, in any case, extra virgin olive oil contains. This is of fundamental importance from the point of view of nutrition and health because the uncontrolled processes of oxidation, with overproduction of free radicals, contribute to the appearance of heart and circulatory disease. They also possess antiinflammatory and immunostimulant properties that perform a preventive action against some carcinomas, such as those of the breast, colon, and digestive tract and those related to hormonal causes.
The human body absorbs and metabolizes the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil before excreting them with the urine, and people who take in an adequate quantity of antioxidants through their food are shown to be better protected from cancer and heart and circulatory problems than those who take them in pill form.
From the nutritional point of view it is therefore advisable to use extra virgin olive oil as the main fat in a Mediterranean-style diet. Thus, for subjects at risk, the usefulness of an adequate diet rich in natural antioxidants, rather than only low in fat content, is now unanimously recognized.
WHY CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
Unfortunately, the level of cholesterol in adolescents has increased in recent years, bringing Europe almost to the levels found in the U.S. The use of fatty substances (especially saturated) and the phenomenon of obesity have also increased.
In all countries, even in those that traditionally consume oil and follow a Mediterranean diet, the food habits of children and adolescents are getting worse. And scientific research has now verified that children need a good dose of antioxidants to develop their defences and immune systems. Particular attention in the choice of their food is therefore needed: The necessity of a diet with a high concentration of vitamins and antioxidants, rich in bioactive components such as polyphenols and flavonoids, now appears evident.
Extra virgin olive oil, thanks also to its high content of unsaturated fats, helps children to develop by helping the cellular tissue to assimilate the substances indispensable for growth and by making animal proteins easier to digest and to metabolize. Extra virgin olive oil is, in fact, very digestible (Baltropp and Oppe have recently shown how children assimilate it much better than butter); it improves gastric functioning, promoting better absorption of substances, especially of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and is itself rich in vitamins, including vitamin E, a potent antioxidant.
In addition, contrary to what is commonly believed, the process of formation of atherosclerotic plaque begins early, in adolescence. Its progress, then, is influenced, over the years, by life-style, including diet. It is essential to start children on a balanced diet, both to give them an adequate quantity of antioxidants and to educate them to choose food that is both good-tasting and healthful. In this way high-quality extra virgin olive oil, with bioactive components of elevated antioxidant capacity, will always contribute to protecting their hearts as the years go by. The most important and recent studies on the Mediterranean diet and extra virgin olive oil, such as the Framingham Heart Study and the Veterans Administra-tion Study, have shown a reduction of 31% in the incidence of heart disease thanks to diet and the role played by extra virgin olive oil.
That is why it is so important to raise the quality of the fat substances utilized in the diet of children and adolescents:
• First of all, it is necessary to give them a product that is excellent from the point of view of health, that is, which does not contain contaminants (Organic Farming).
• Second, priority should be given to fats rich in secondary polyphenolic compounds, capable of alleviating the action of lipids on the organism. From this point of view, extra virgin olive oil presents unique characteristics because it derives from the pressing of a fruit that is fresh and alive, rich in vitamins and beneficial secondary substances, like few other things in nature.
• Finally, the extra virgin oil that reaches our tables must be of high quality and checked carefully over time to make sure the nutritional properties it had when just pressed are present alive and unaltered. That is exactly what we try to give you with Per Me and Per Mio Figlio following our unique Organic “Live Oil” method.
HOW TO USE THESE OILS
Per me and Per mio figlio are meant to be used—not kept on a shelf and admired. Like other fine oils, they are best used as condiments, not cooking fats—though you could certainly replace vegetable oil, shortening, lard, or butter with them in many recipes.
In Italy, a cruet or bottle of extra virgin oil is often left on the table for diners to use as they wish. For example, it is traditionally drizzled on bread, toasted or not, on fish and on greens and added to soups or pasta. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
For salad, Per mio figlio may be best for the delicate varieties (such as lamb’s lettuce or baby spinach salad with Parmigiano cheese) and Per me for the more highly flavoured greens (such as arugula). Many Italians don’t even use vinegar, but if you do, use a good wine vinegar, and don’t mix the dressing separately; work directly on the salad.
Use either of the oils (depending on age or preference) on boiled or steamed spinach or green beans with a squeeze of lemon. How much you use depends on your taste and calorie allowance. We believe a little of our product goes a long way and we suggest you try a small serving. I personally use only about 30–35% of the amount I would use of another oil. For example, to flavor one bowl of soup or pasta, I would use not more than one teaspoon (5 ml), rather than the usual tablespoon (15 ml). Both our oils, even the more delicate Per mio figlio, have a very assertive, and delicious, flavor. Foods prepared without any fat at all are the perfect medium to enjoy the flavor of these oils. Try Per mio figlio, with or without lemon, on plain poached or grilled fish or shellfish. Try it on pasta instead of butter with Parmigiano cheese. Make a no-fat vegetable soup and add a half teaspoon of Per me to each bowl. Slice a tomato, add salt and torn fresh basil leaves, then drizzle Per me over it. Or make a peach sorbet and add a half teaspoon of Per mio figlio a few seconds before finishing the preparation.
See which you prefer on boiled or steamed potatoes or, better yet, on a baked Idaho. Try Per me instead of melted butter on plain lobster or crabmeat. Roast and peel some sweet bell peppers, cut them into strips, sprinkle very lightly with salt, and dress them with a few drops of Per me. Or maybe Per mio figlio. Try it on wedges of trimmed, steamed artichokes.
Drizzle Per mio figlio on slices of mozzarella di bufala and add a grinding of fresh black pepper.
Use the oils to dress up simple, everyday foods. You’ll find Per me and Per mio figlio are great to have on hand when you have to improvise for last-minute guests. They’ll turn whatever you have in the house into a gourmet treat—just try our oils on plain boiled cannellini or borlotti beans! Cut up some radishes, celery, carrots, and scallions (or any other crudités) for a pinzimonio. Each diner mixes his own combination of oil, salt, pepper, and (optionally) vinegar in a small cup or bowl in which to dip the vegetables.
The one thing you shouldn’t do with these oils is “save” them for a “special” occasion. Your life is the special occasion!
La Pergola dell'Hotel Rome Cavalieri Hilton
Via A. Cadlolo, 101
According to every tourist guide, this is one of the best restaurants in Italy. The view over Rome from the restaurant is simply stunning and the cooking is thrilling, fun and sophisticated at the same time. In the kitchen, Heinz Beck combines creativity and technique as few chefs do. His Mediterranean cooking is based on the supreme quality of the ingredients, with no compromises. If you love yourself, you should go there. You will remember this experience for a long time. Chef Beck makes use of our oils, awarding each table a bottle! He states that he wants to take care of his guests each and every day, ensuring they discover the superior ingredients he personally loves. He prepares two recipes with our oils which anyone can reproduce, resulting in an evening dominated by the smell of the sea, the elegance of the colors, the goodness of the ingredients, the beauty we are all looking for.
- Cold Tomato Cream with fava beans and lobster
- Norwegian Lobster Carpaccio with caviar and chives
Giancarlo and Lella Bini's recipes
Ristorante Enoliteca Ombrone
Piazza dei Giudici, 1
Tel. 0565.829336-828294 Fax .828297
Giancarlo Bini is among the greatest experts of Italian oils. He has always been passionate about oil and has trained many generations of tasters. As researcher and thorough critic, he has followed the entire development of oil in Tuscany over the last thirty years. He writes, studies, teaches, selects...and has always managed his restaurant with his wife Lella, who is also a famous cooking teacher. Their cuisine is traditional and local, based on the supreme quality of the ingredients, which they select themselves from all over Tuscany. Below they propose, just for us, some delicious dishes that are very easy to prepare.
- Tomato Mush with MANNI oil Per Mio Figlio
After giving up teaching religious science, Antonella Scopetani started working for the post office, where she revels in the challenge each day. For this reason, she takes refuge in cooking, mostly preparing Tuscan desserts or desserts from abroad, revised in a Mediterranean way, by replacing butter with extra virgin olive oil, which she absolutely loves and uses skillfully.
- Whole cake with oil, apples and raisins (for 12 people)
Angelo Troianis recipes
Vicolo dei Soldati, 25 / 31
The restaurant "Il Convivio" is only a few steps away from Piazza Navona. The Troiani brothers own it and it is among the five best restaurants in Rome. It also has a fully stocked wine cellar. The chef, Angelo Troiani, is a natural talent. The restaurant cuisine is inventive and local, able to combine the fresh ingredients found daily at the market with creativity and mastery. This experience is not to be missed. Angelo has prepared two sophisticated and easy to prepare recipes with our oils. We suggest you to cook big portions, because they taste just too good!
- Tuscan Summer: Rigatoni Pasta Salad with MANNI oil Per Me
- Salted Codfish Carpaccio with red gurnard, orange-flavored oil MANNI Per me, mustard and green pepper
- Fish and Vegetable Soup Per mio figlio
Several people contributed with their knowledge, passion and generosity to the creation of these oils and the realization of this dream. I wish you could meet them in person. Without them, I would never have made it.
Elio Altare, brother and wine poet in the Langhe, Piedmont.
Heinz Beck, chef, Ristorante La Pergola, Hotel Rome Cavalieri, Rome.
Franco Fontana, photographer of landscape souls, the old child, Modena.
Angelo Gaja, the master and friend, king of Barbaresco and wine revolutionary, Piedmont.
David B. Kaminsky, M.D., Executive Vice President United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology
Anna Maria Natali, my mother, who is no longer here.
Annalisa Romani, Chemist, Associate Professor of Commodity Science, Department of Pharmaceutical Science, University of Florence.
Francesco Visioli, Pharmaceutical Chemist, Expert in Biotechnology and Pharmacology, University of Milan.