Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

The Olive Oil Hunter News #94

Pork Tenderloin with Tomato and Onion Salad Recipe, Spotlight on Pork Tenderloin, Meat Safety, Rethinking Moderate Drinking and Trading the Chair for Fresh Air

Labor Day is the perfect occasion to think about how much time you spend sitting while you’re at work and how this can affect your health—new research shows that we should all be moving more! As you gather with family and friends, talk about ways you can encourage each other to be healthier. This week’s celebratory recipe features pork tenderloin, a very lean cut, and two of the healthiest veggies—a great break from traditional burgers and dogs.

Pork Tenderloin with Tomato and Onion Salad

  • Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Tomaotes Pork Tenderloin with Tomato and Onion Salad

    If you’re firing up the grill this weekend, this simple but colorful dish makes an impressive centerpiece. For a crowd, simply double or triple the recipe. In addition to the tomato and onion salad, make a tasty side dish by first grilling up seasonal vegetables—brush them with olive oil and cook for two minutes per side or until tender. Note: You can enjoy this pork dish any time of year by cooking it in a large cast-iron skillet on your stovetop.


    • 2 cups red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly slivered lengthwise
    • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, or to taste 
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
    • Coarse salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the pork 
    • 2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each


    Step 1

    Place the tomatoes and onions in a medium-sized bowl. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the garlic, vinegar, parsley, cumin, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the olive oil and shake vigorously until emulsified. Pour over the tomato-onion mixture and toss to combine. Set aside to marinate while grilling the pork. 

    Step 2

    Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Lightly coat the pork with olive oil and season it generously with salt and pepper. Grill the pork until nicely browned on the outside, turning as needed, and cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F—it will be slightly pink in the center. Let rest for three minutes, then slice crosswise on a diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Shingle on a platter.

    Step 3

    Stir the tomato-onion salad once more, taste for seasoning, and then spoon it around the pork. 

    Yields 4 servings

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Perfectly Petite Pork Tenderloin

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight

Perfectly Petite Pork 

Pork tenderloin is a choice, lean, and elegant cut, with a shape similar to that of a filet mignon, but with a smaller circumference and length. With so little fat, it’s best quickly cooked over fairly high heat, which is why a hot grill is a great option. Since a tenderloin weighs only about a pound, estimate one for every two or three people.

To prep it, use a boning knife to remove any strips of silver skin. Olive oil enhances pork’s delicate taste. To infuse it with even more flavor, marinate it in the oil, some wine vinegar, and the herbs used in the tomato salad—or any favorites you have on hand—for an hour before cooking. 

Healthy Kitchen Nugget: Meat Safety: Temperature is Everything

Healthy Kitchen Nugget

Meat Safety: Temperature is Everything

The directions concerning the internal temperature and resting time for the pork tenderloin come from important changes the USDA made in May 2020. It lowered the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160ºF to 145ºF as measured with a food thermometer, and added in the three-minute rest time before carving or eating it. This translates to pork that is both safe and juicy. 

Rest time is technically the amount of time a food remains at its final temperature after it has been removed from a grill, oven, or other heat source. During those three minutes, the food’s temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful bacteria. Adding this rest time enabled USDA internal temperature guidelines to be lowered from 160ºF, which tended to dry out the meat. To check for doneness, always place your food thermometer in the thickest part of a food. Start checking toward the end of the anticipated cooking, but before you expect it to be done. Always wash your food thermometer with hot soapy water before and after each use.

For Your Best Health: Rethinking Moderate Drinking

For Your Best Health

Rethinking Moderate Drinking

Long-standing consumption caps on alcoholic beverages have suggested one or less per day for women and two or less per day for men. But a new study of nearly 21,000 people published in the journalPLOS suggests that drinking at the high end of that safe range is linked to brain changes and cognitive decline from iron accumulation in the brain, which has itself been linked with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and is a potential mechanism for alcohol-related cognitive decline.

Dr. Anya Topiwala of the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, along with colleagues, explored relationships between alcohol consumption and brain iron levels. Study participants, whose mean age was 55 and who represented both sexes nearly equally, reported their own alcohol consumption, and their brains were scanned using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Almost 7,000 participants also had their livers imaged using MRI technology to assess levels of systemic iron. All completed a series of simple tests to assess their cognitive and motor functions.

Although 2.7 percent of participants classified themselves as nondrinkers, average intake was around 18 units per week, which translates to about seven and a half cans of beer or six large glasses of wine. The research team found that alcohol consumption above seven units per week was associated with markers of higher iron in the basal ganglia, a group of brain regions associated with control of motor movements, procedural learning, eye movement, cognition, emotion, and more. Iron accumulation in some brain regions was associated with worse cognitive function.

Although drinking was self-reported and could be underestimated, this was considered the only feasible method to establish such a large cohort’s intake. Another limitation of the work is that MRI-derived measures are indirect representations of brain iron, and could conflate other brain changes observed with alcohol consumption with changes in iron levels. However, the findings certainly justify taking a careful look at how much you’re drinking on a weekly basis and considering whether cutting back should be part of your brain health strategy.

Fitness Flash: The Dangers of Too Much Sitting

Fitness Flash

Trade the Chair for Fresh Air

New research done at Simon Fraser University in Canada and published in the journal JAMA Cardiology adds to what we know about the dangers of too much sitting. The international study surveyed more than 100,000 people in 21 countries over an average of 11 years and found that those who sat for six to eight hours a day had a 12–13 percent increased risk for early death and heart disease; for people who sat for more than eight hours daily, the increased risk went up to 20 percent. Those who sat the most and were the least active had the highest risk—up to 50 percent—while those who sat the most but were also the most active had a risk of about 17 percent.

“The overarching message here is to minimize how much you sit,” says study co-leader Scott Lear, PhD, professor and Pfizer/Heart & Stroke Foundation chair in cardiovascular prevention research at Simon Fraser.“If you must sit, getting in more exercise during other times of the day will offset that risk.” Less sitting and more activity is a low-cost intervention that can have enormous benefits, he explains, adding that we all need to better assess our lifestyle and take health seriously. “Our study found that a combination of sitting and inactivity accounted for 8.8 percent of all deaths, which is close to the contribution of smoking. It’s a global problem that has a remarkably simple fix. Scheduling time to get out of that chair is a great start.”

Get More Recipes In Your Inbox!

The Effects of the MIND and Mediterranean Diets on Parkinson’s Disease

Adapted from an article by Dr. Rebecca Gilbert, American Parkinson’s Disease Association, May 4, 2021

New research into the best diets for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) reveals the Mediterranean and MIND diets may be associated with later age of onset of PD. Components of a Mediterranean diet include vegetables; fruits; whole grains; legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils; nuts; low-fat proteins, such as fish and poultry; and olive oil.

Another diet, known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, was designed to help treat and prevent high blood pressure and emphasizes many of the same principles as the Mediterranean diet. More recently, experts suggested a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, meant to maximize cognitive benefits. It is entitled the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet. Components of the MIND diet include green, leafy vegetables; all other vegetables; berries; whole grains; beans; nuts; poultry; fish; red wine; and olive oil.

The principles of the MIND diet are very similar to the Mediterranean diet, with some notable additions. The MIND diet recommends green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale as the first choice over other vegetables. Berries (such as blueberries) are specifically promoted, as opposed to fruit in general. A small amount of red wine daily is also encouraged. (Please discuss this with your doctor.)

Why do these diets work?

The scientific underpinnings as to why these diets affect brain health are not fully understood and likely consist of a combination of different positive benefits—some of which have been established and others that have not. It is possible that the established heart benefits of the diets drive some of the brain health benefits. That is, the diets promote healthy hearts and clean blood vessels and therefore support excellent blood flow to the brain. It is well established that vascular disease in the brain can contribute to cognitive decline as well as the motor symptoms of Parkinsonism. Therefore, ensuring that the brain achieves good blood flow has positive benefits on brain health for everyone, especially those who have a disease such as PD.

In addition, specific components of the foods encouraged in these diets may work on the cellular level to protect neurons from cell death or decrease neuroinflammation. But knowing which elements are conferring the benefit is not straightforward. To date, researchers have not been able to identify a specific nutritional supplement that achieved the type of benefits in clinical trial demonstrated in this diet study. Currently, therefore, the best way to ingest the nutrients that protect the brain is through a comprehensive dietary plan and not by taking a defined group of supplements.


  • A new study has demonstrated that the MIND and Mediterranean diets are associated with a delay in onset of PD symptoms
  • Both of these diets emphasize vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil
  • The MIND diet adds green leafy vegetables and berries as important elements

Reference: Metcalfe-Roach A, Yu A, Golz E, et al. MIND and Mediterranean diets associated with later onset of Parkinson’s Disease. Mov Disord. 2021;36(4):977-984. doi: 10.1002/mds.28464.