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olive oil, health

Olive Oil vs Coconut Oil

 

Whats the difference and which one is better for you??

In the 90′s there was no question that Extra Virgin Olive Oil was the healthiest of oils.  Second best was Canola Oil which was certainly better than Coconut Oil which was the evil but delicious oil that made movie theater popcorn so yummy.

But in the last few years I started hearing about how healthy coconut oil is.  Could this be true?  It is filled with saturated fat which is the bad fat right?  I also discovered avocado oil, sunflower oil and fish oil.  Fad diets have gone from low fat to Atkins to the current Paleo trend.  With it our perception of oils and fats has changed significantly.

olive oil, health

So what’s the truth?

A quick review of nutrition and you’ll remember all foods are either carbohydrates, proteins or fats.  Fats are made from fatty acids and glycerol.  The body needs fatty acids to make hormones and other chemicals our bodies need.  The body can make some fatty acids but there are some such as Linolenic and Linoleic fatty acids that your body cannot make and you must consume in your diet.   You also need fat to digest the fat soluble vitamins.

So lets be fair, fat is not evil.  You need some fat in your diet; most nutritionists recommend that about 30% of your calories come from fat.  But there are different kinds of fat.  “Saturated” refers to the number of hydrogen atoms in a molecule of fat.  Most oils are a combination of the different types of fats.

      • Mono-unsaturated Fats could contain one more hydrogen atom.  They are liquid at room temperature and have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol.  Canola, Olive and Peanut Oils are examples of mostly monounsaturated fats.
        • Poly-unsaturated Fats could contain two or more hydrogen atoms.  They are liquid at room temperature and have been shown to reduce cholesterol.  Seafood and vegetable oils have high amounts of polyunsaturated fats.  Omega-6 and Omega-3 are the two main types of polyunsaturated fats and they are made from two main essential fatty acids Linoleic Acid and Linolenic Acid.  These we must eat, the body is unable to build these.
              • Linoleic Acid is needed to build omega-6 fatty acids.
              • Linolenic Acid is needed to build omega-3 fatty acids.
        • Saturated fat is solid at room temperature, which is why it is also known as “solid fat.” Saturated fats contain as many hydrogen atoms as they can.  It is mostly in animal foods, such as milk, cheese, and meat.  It is also in coconut and palm oil.  Saturated fat raises cholesterol in the blood which can cause cardiovascular disease.  The thicker a fat is the more likely it is to be saturated.
      • Trans fats do not occur naturally in nature but are man made by “saturating” unsaturated fats by adding hydrogen to them.  Trans fats are generally accepted to be unhealthy and in fact are being removed from many products.  The most common is partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.Many studies conducted over years have shown that mono and poly unsaturated fats lower blood cholesterol and reduce risk for cardiovascular disease while saturated fats raise cholesterol and health risks.

Types of fat in common oils

Oil Saturated
fat %
Mono- unsaturated
fatty acid %
Poly- unsaturated
fatty acid %
linolenic
fatty acid %
linoleic
fatty acid %
Almond
8.2%
69.9%
17.4%
0.0%
17.4%
Brazilnut
24.4%
34.8%
36.4%
0.0%
36.0%
Butter
51.4%
21.0%
3.0%
0.0%
0.0%
Canola
7.1%
58.9%
29.6%
9.3%
20.3%
Cashew
19.8%
58.9%
16.9%
0.0%
16.5%
Cocoa Butter
59.7%
32.9%
3.0%
0.1%
2.8%
Coconut
86.5%
5.8%
1.8%
0.0%
1.8%
Corn
12.7%
24.2%
58.7%
0.7%
58.0%
Hazelnut
7.4%
78.0%
10.2%
0.0%
10.1%
Macadamia
15.0%
78.9%
1.7%
0.0%
1.7%
Olive
13.5%
73.7%
8.4%
0.6%
7.9%
Peanut
16.9%
46.2%
32.0%
0.0%
32.0%
Pecan
8.0%
62.3%
24.8%
1.0%
23.6%
Safflower
9.6%
12.6%
73.4%
0.2%
73.0%
Sesame
14.2%
39.7%
41.7%
0.3%
41.3%
Soybean
14.4%
23.3%
57.9%
6.8%
51.0%
Walnut
9.1%
22.8%
63.3%
10.4%
52.9%

*Data taken from  USDA Nutrient Database

So it seems pretty clear that Olive Oil is much heart healthier than Coconut Oil which is mostly saturated.  So why have I been hearing that coconut oil is healthy?  Even butter has less saturated fat than coconut oil. (Go Julia Child!)

It turns out that saturated fats can be divided into long chain fats and medium chain fats. Coconut oil is made mostly of a medium chain fatty acids called Lauric Acid.  There are early studies which show that although Lauric acid raises your bad cholesterol it also raises good cholesterol.  There are also small studies that concluded coconut oil aids in weight loss and helps memory in alzheimer patients.  The studies to date have not been rigorous and are not convincing.

olives, olive oil

Olive Oil on the other hand has had many large and long studies concluding that Olive Oil is good for longevity, fights against cancer, prevents heart disease, slows down Alzheimers, protects bones and aids in weight loss.  And it’s delicious!

I believe moderation and balance is the key to a healthy life.  A variety of different oils and unprocessed foods should be eaten to provide the body with the wide range of nutrients and fuel it needs.  Years of evidence points to high quality, fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil having lots of health benefits.  So while coconut oil is occasionally delicious, you’ll still find Olive Oil on our table as our staple oil.

 

Why Olive Oil is the Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift

Valentine’s day is the time for couples to show their affection and love for each other. While mainstays like chocolates and flowers will undoubtedly be on the top of gift giving lists once again this year, the real maestros of love, and the ones willing to step outside of the box and deliver a unique gift from the heart, will be looking at olive oil.

Valentine1.jpg

Olive oil’s reputation as an aphrodisiac started way back in ancient Greece. There are folklore stories about how newlyweds in Crete would eat olive oil soaked bread on the first of every year to increase fertility. Specifically, the fresh oil from olives harvested from wild trees was considered especially potent. Since then scientists have found that the abundance of vitamin E and healthy fats naturally found in olive oil are what boosts the libido.

The Perfect Appetizer for Valentine’s Day Love

Olive oil’s connection to love and Valentine’s Day is so historic that The Doctors, one of the highest rated daytime TV shows, specifically included it when talking about how to spice up your love life with food.  Here is their recipe for their Hallelujah Hummus which they claim will help you spice up your Valentine’s Day night, with some Mediterranean Drizzles flair.

Hallelujah Hummus

  • Mash 2 cups of chickpeas into a fine paste

  • Add 1 tbsp of garlic or lemon infused Mediterranean Drizzles olive oil, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 clove of crushed garlic, ½ tsp of salt

  • Mix well

  • Dip carrots or other delicious veggies, and enjoy!

IMG_1618_2.jpeg

Health Benefits:

  • Chickpeas: The main ingredient in hummus, chickpeas, are packed with arginine, an amino acid that increases circulation and boosts internal lubrication.

  • Olive Oil: A good alternative to saturated fat, olive oil helps generate hormones, which are essential to your sex drive. It also further promotes internal lubrication.

Olive Oil: Not Just For Food

Food isn’t the only way to incorporate Tunisian olive oil into your Valentine’s Day plans. This year you can show your love how much you care by making and using your own homemade moisturizing lotion and massage oil. Not only will your significant other love the hands-on touch, but who doesn’t love a relaxing rub-down after a long week of work?

 

To make the moisturizing lotion, all you you’ll need is:

Instructions:

  1. Melt the wax in a double boiler. If you don’t have one, it’s really easy to make on your own. Fill a small pot with water and put it on the stove. Put the beeswax into a small metal bowl, and put it on top of the pot. The steam from the boiling water will heat the metal bowl, melting the wax.

  2. While the wax is melting, put the olive oil and water into blender. You can either use a stick blender with a bowl or a desktop blender, both will work. Add any essential oils such as lavender or coconut, depending on your personal taste. These aren’t necessary but make for a unique lotion.

  3. Once the wax is melted, put it into the container with the olive oil, water and essential pol and start blending.

After only a few seconds, you have your very own moisturizing massage lotion made out of olive oil, a perfect Valentine’s Day present. Don’t forget to personalize the label for your special someone this year. It is a sure fire way to make your Tunisian olive oil gift stand out, showing that you put thought into the gift and who you’re giving it to instead of just picking something up from the store. Mediterranean Drizzles allows you to customize your label with the style that will make your loved one’s eyes light up with joy

A thoughtful Birthday Gift

A birthday is a special moment in someone’s life so for this reason, you definitely want to get them something that that is not only useful but also thoughtful.

That is why we came up with the idea of personalized Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil bottles and gift sets. It is healthy, classy and above all, unique.

How to make your own? Follow the steps under the picture below to get started:

Birthday Gift Bottle

Go to the PRODUCTS page

Choose a product that fits your budget

Pick your flavor(s)

Scroll down to the labels section

Expand the birthday section

Pick your label

Personalize it!