Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

The Olive Oil Hunter News #111

Pork Chops with Tomatoes and Capers Recipe and What Makes Olive Oil a Good Fat

As members of the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club know, the vibrant pepperiness of extra virgin olive oil comes from its polyphenols, important antioxidants that foster good health in so many ways. But there’s more to the story. EVOO’s main nutrient and the source of its calories is monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, which confer special benefits as well. That’s why many health authorities recommend them over saturated fats (those solid at room temperature, like butter). In this edition of the Newsletter, we’ll look at the one-two punch of MUFAs and polyphenols—and how together they can help staunch a very serious health epidemic, metabolic syndrome. But first, a wonderful winter recipe sure to become a favorite.

Pork Chops with Tomatoes and Capers

  • Pork chops with tomatoes and capers Pork Chops with Tomatoes and Capers

    This Mediterranean-style dish is cooked on the stovetop in a single pan and creates a rich, tomato sauce. 


    • 1/4 cup white whole-wheat or all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon each coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 6 pork chops, each about 1/2-inch thick
    • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/3 cup chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium store-bought
    • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with its juice
    • 4 tablespoons capers


    Step 1

    Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a pie plate. Heat a frying pan large enough to hold the chops (if necessary, you can cook the chops in batches). Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and quickly coat both sides of each chop in the flour mixture, shake off any excess, and add to the pan. Sauté 5 minutes on each side or until browned. 

    Step 2

    Transfer the chops to a dish. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté slightly, then deglaze the pan with the vinegar. Add the tomatoes along with their juice, the broth, and the capers, and briefly bring to a boil.

    Step 3

    Add back the chops, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the chops are cooked through and register 145°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes more. 

    Yields 6 servings.

Healthy Kitchen Nugget: The Truth About Nondairy Milks

For Your Best Health

What Makes Olive Oil a Good Fat 

The study making news: “The clinical impact of an extra virgin olive oil enriched Mediterranean diet on metabolic syndrome: Lights and shadows of a nutraceutical approach,” a research review published in Frontiers in Nutrition (2022).

Most research on the benefits of olive oil and the Mediterranean diet centers on the healthful properties of its polyphenols, but its fatty acids deliver benefits of their own. What’s more, the polyphenols and fatty acids seem to work in synergy to do even more. 

As stated in this research review, one component of the Mediterranean diet “believed to contribute a strong beneficial effect is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and with variable concentrations of phenols. These not only determine EVOO’s main organoleptic qualities (oxidative stability, specific flavor, and taste features) but make it a source of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, insulin-sensitizing, cardioprotective, antiatherogenic, neuroprotective, and immunomodulatory activity.” (Antiatherogenic means that it fights against dangerous plaque buildup, or atherosclerosis, along artery walls.)

Why are MUFAs considered good fats?

According to the National Library of Medicine, monounsaturated fats are good for your health in several ways. They can help lower your LDL or bad cholesterol level. Keeping your LDL level low reduces your risk for heart disease and stroke. Also, MUFAs help develop and maintain your cells. Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent source of MUFAs. Olive oil also has the other preferred alternative to saturated fat, PUFAs, or polyunsaturated fatty acids, but to a lesser extent. (Some of the best sources of PUFAs are walnuts, flax, and sunflower seeds.)

For the Frontiers in Nutrition review, the researchers took a deep dive into how EVOO may help with the condition known as metabolic syndrome, one that has become more prevalent as people have become more overweight. According to the review, it’s “an increasingly pressing global health problem, affecting about 31 percent of the world’s population but predicted to increase over 50 percent in the next 15 years.” Metabolic syndrome is typically diagnosed when someone has at least three of these five conditions: abdominal obesity (belly fat), high triglyceride levels, low HDL or good cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and impaired fasting glucose (blood sugar). Each one is a risk factor for various metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, from diabetes to heart disease; having three or more creates a heightened risk.

As the report pointed out,

“The only established, effective treatment is lifestyle modification through increased physical activity, weight loss, and dietary intake high in fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, and low-fat dairy products: i.e., the Mediterranean diet (MD). Several studies have shown a direct correlation between MD adherence and overall reduction in mortality and morbidity.…

“The Mediterranean diet is a cornerstone in treating [metabolic syndrome] and preventing cardiovascular risk. Literature data indicate that an essential component is EVOO which, with high MUFA and polyphenol content, constitutes a food with excellent organoleptic properties and a substance with surprising nutraceutical abilities. EVOO, by activating multiple metabolic pathways, could optimize glycemic control and lipid metabolism, reduce endothelial damage and blood pressure, and provide systemic anti-inflammatory activity.”

Based on the studies that the researchers reviewed, they found that, in particular, “Extra virgin olive oil, due to its high MUFA content, significantly reduces concentrations of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol, decreasing TC/HDL and LDL/HDL ratios. In this context, polyphenols act synergistically with MUFAs.Overall, EVOO seems to play an antiatherogenic and CVD risk reduction role, improving the overall health status of [metabolic syndrome] patients.” 

The researchers also mentioned that, in addition to helping counteract the inflammation that accompanies overweight, EVOO might indirectly help with weight loss by enhancing the way food tastes and perhaps helping people feel full sooner, thus preventing overeating. 

They did note that there are still unanswered questions. Since most studies don’t spell out the specific varietals of EVOO consumed by participants or their exact polyphenol levels, the researchers can’t say what concentration of polyphenols is needed or which olive varieties are best—things that future studies might tell us. One thing we do know: in general, the fresher the olive oil, the higher its polyphenol content.  

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The Olive Oil Hunter News #49

Cheesy Smashed Potatoes with Mojo Colorado Recipe, Spotlight on Paprika, Benefits of Plant-based Diet and New, Fashion-Forward Heart Monitors

I love to take classic recipes to the next level with a tasty twist, and this week I’m adding pizzazz to twice-cooked potatoes. One of the special ingredients for this upgrade is pimentón, Spanish smoked paprika, a spice you’ll use often once you add it to your pantry. Speaking of smart additions, a new study on brain health and nutrients offers suggestions for fruits and vegetables to include in your diet—along with the benefits of olive oil, these foods can make a difference in cognitive skills. And for those who need to monitor their heart rate, an amazing new category of wearables is on the horizon.



    Mojo colorado is a classic red chile sauce from Spain’s Canary Islands. Great on smashed potatoes, it’s also wonderful as an accompaniment to anything you cook on the grill—meat, fish, or veggies.


    For the mojo colorado:

    • 1 red bell pepper
    • 2 tablespoons pimentón
    • 1 small, fresh, hot red chile, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
    • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
    • 1/4 cup water

    For the potatoes:

    • 8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
    • Coarse kosher or sea salt
    • 1/2 cup coarsely grated Manchego cheese
    • 1/2 teaspoon pimentón


    Step 1

    Make the mojo colorado: Char the bell pepper over a gas burner or under a broiler until it is blackened and blistered on all sides. Peel, stem, seed, and tear it into several pieces. Place in a blender jar with the other sauce ingredients, and blend until smooth. Add more salt if needed or water to thin. Set aside.

    Step 2

    Bake the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 375°F. (If you used your broiler to roast the pepper, let the oven cool to 375° before continuing the recipe.) Use 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat a baking dish large enough to accommodate the potatoes. Bake the potatoes until they are soft when pierced with a knife or a bamboo skewer, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and gently smash each potato with the back of a large spoon. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then season with salt. Top with the grated Manchego cheese and dust with pimentón. Return to the oven for 15 minutes.

    Step 3

    Drizzle with the mojo colorado before serving.

    Yields 4 to 6 side-dish servings.

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Paprika

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight

Head to Spain for Paprika

As members of the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club know, I’m a big fan of pimentón, the uniquely Spanish spice made from peppers exclusively grown in La Vera, in the province of Cáceres. Very different from Hungarian paprika, its distinctive flavor comes partly from the climate and partly from a unique, centuries-old smoking process. (It’s pimentón that gives the region’s famed chorizo and other pork products their special flavor and color.) Just as you might have both half-sharp and sweet paprika, you’ll want to create a collection of sweet pimentón dulce, medium-hot pimentón agridulce, and the hottest choice, pimentón picante.

Healthy Kitchen Tip: How to Grate Cheese

Healthy Kitchen Nugget

Grated Cheese Simplified ​

There’s no doubt that the grating blade of a food processor makes shredding cheese a snap. But what’s old is new again—the box grater. I find it takes less time to shred a hunk of cheese on its largest holes than to cut wedges of cheese to fit in the mouth of the processor’s feed tube, not to mention washing the bowl and all the other parts. Place a sheet of parchment or wax paper under the box grater to catch all the shreds, and make sure the cheese you’re grating is very cold—no matter how you grate it, cheese at room temperature will clump.

For Your Best Health: Homemade meals and your health

For Your Best Health

Pass the Produce ​

You already know that many of the benefits of olive oil come from its phenolic compounds, which include phenols and flavonoids. A new study published in the journal Neurology demonstrated that people who eat a diet with foods high in flavonoids can lower their risk of cognitive decline by 20%. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants naturally found in plants, and not getting antioxidants likely contributes to cognitive decline as we age.

The researchers looked at several types of flavonoids and found that flavones and anthocyanins may have the most protective effect. Think of them as powerhouses to prevent thinking skills from declining as you get older. Flavones—found in some spices, red chile peppers, and yellow or orange fruits and vegetables—had the strongest protective qualities and were linked to a 38% reduction in risk of cognitive decline—the equivalent of being three to four years younger in age. Anthocyanins—found in blueberries, blackberries, and cherries—were associated with a 24% reduced risk of cognitive decline.

“Our results are exciting because they show that making simple changes to your diet could help prevent cognitive decline,” said study author and Harvard professor Walter Willett, MD, DrPH. “The people in our study who did the best over time ate an average of at least half a serving per day of foods like orange juice, oranges, peppers, celery, grapefruits, grapefruit juice, apples, and pears…While it is possible other phytochemicals are at work here, a colorful diet rich in flavonoids—and specifically flavones and anthocyanins—seems to be a good bet for promoting long-term brain health. And it’s never too late to start, because we saw those protective relationships whether people were consuming the flavonoids in their diet 20 years ago or if they started incorporating them more recently.”

Fitness Flash: Heart Monitors

Fitness Flash

Heart Monitors Go Fashion-Forward ​

There’s a new twist on the expression “wearing your heart on your sleeve.” Scientists at Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania have developed “smart clothing” that uses conductive nanotube thread capable of taking a continuous electrocardiogram, or EKG, as you wear it. The fibers, which were sewn into athletic wear, proved to be just as conductive as metal wires but washable, comfortable, and far less likely to break when you move and exercise. What’s more, the garment proved better at gathering data than a standard chest-strap monitor and even slightly better than a traditional EKG. The fibers provide steady electrical contact with the skin and also act as electrodes to connect with electronics like Bluetooth transmitters to relay data to a smartphone or to connect to a Holter monitor that can be stowed in a user’s pocket, explained lead author Lauren Taylor at Rice. This could be an important tool for detecting heart rhythm problems and other issues and help people with heart concerns stay in a safe zone when exercising. Plans are underway to refine the design so that it has more surface area to contact the skin.

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The Olive Oil Hunter News #48

Concord Grape and Olive Oil Harvest Cake Recipe, Spotlight on Concord Grapes, The Power of Pistachios and Naps

When I was growing up, my grandparents had several Concord grapevines. I loved to pick the deep-purple clusters and wished I could have them all year-round. Since early fall is the only time they’re available, I’ve always been excited for this season. The Concord grape and olive oil harvest cake I’m sharing with you in this week’s newsletter also includes one of my favorite nuts—pistachios—and, of course, extra virgin olive oil. Members of the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club can use any of their selections for this recipe, but a bold and fruity choice is wonderful with the fruit and nuts. You’ll love this cake with a scoop of ice cream for dessert or on its own for breakfast the next day…if you have any left!


  • CONCORD GRAPE AND OLIVE OIL HARVEST CAKE Concord Grape and Olive Oil Harvest Cake

    This cake includes one of my favorite nuts—pistachios—and, of course, extra virgin olive oil. You’ll love this cake with a scoop of ice cream for dessert or on its own for breakfast the next day…if you have any left!


    • 3/4 cup cake flour
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 cup Concord grapes
    • 1/2 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
    • 4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup sugar, divided
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 4 large egg whites
    • 1 tablespoon sanding sugar (optional)


    Step 1

    Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom of a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper, and lightly coat it with baking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Over another large bowl to catch the juice, slice the grapes in half and remove and discard the seeds; set aside.

    Step 2

    In a food processor, pulse the pistachios with the confectioner’s sugar until powdery. Add the 2 whole eggs, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla extract, and then pulse about 6 times to incorporate the ingredients. Add half of the flour mixture, then the olive oil, and then the remaining flour mixture, pulsing a few times between each addition. Transfer the batter to the bowl you used for the flour, and fold in any juice that’s collected in the bowl of grapes.

    Step 3

    In a clean, large bowl, whisk the egg whites on a low speed until foamy, add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, and whip at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold a large spoonful of the beaten whites into the batter to lighten the mixture. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites, being sure to incorporate the batter at the very bottom of the bowl. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing the top, and then sprinkle on the grapes and, if you’re using it, the sanding sugar. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until there’s no wobble in the center and a knife used to test comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, and then release the sides of the pan. Serve at room temperature.

    Yields 10-12 servings

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Concord Grapes ​

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight

Concord Grapes ​

Just as deeply colored berries have amazing and healthful antioxidants, so do deeply colored grapes. In fact, a study in the journal Antioxidants that compared Concord, purple, red, and green grapes found that the Concord and the purple grapes had the highest concentration of antioxidants. What’s more, of all the grapes, the Concords had the most not just in their skins, but in their pulp as well. This—and their wonderful intense flavor—makes having to deal with those little seeds worth the trouble.

Healthy Kitchen Tip: Concord Grape Shopping Smarts ​

Healthy Kitchen Nugget

Concord Grape Shopping Smarts ​

Look for bunches with dark blue-purple grapes and a dusty “bloom,” or light whitish finish—this is a natural protectant. It’s common to find a few grapes on any given bunch that haven’t ripened and are still green. Just discard them because they’ll be sour. Store Concord grapes, unwashed, in the crisper drawer of your fridge for up to two weeks; rinse before eating or prepping them. They also freeze well and make an icy treat if you eat them without thawing.

For Your Best Health: Pistachio Power ​

For Your Best Health

Pistachio Power ​

Whenever I read studies about how healthful nuts are, I typically think of walnuts and almonds, but according to a report in the journal Natural Product Research, pistachios pack an enviable nutrient punch, making them a great, guilt-free snack. “Compared to other nuts, pistachios have a lower fat and caloric content, and contain the highest levels of unsaturated fatty acids, potassium, γ-tocopherol [vitamin E], phytosterols, and xanthophyll carotenoids, all substances that are well known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.” More details come from a review of pistachios in the journal Nutrients. “Pistachios are also a good source of vegetable protein, with an essential amino acid ratio higher than most other commonly consumed nuts…The amount of total carbohydrates is low to moderate, but they are richer in fiber than other nuts with a 10% by weight of insoluble forms and 0.3% of soluble forms…This complete and diverse set of micronutrients and macronutrients means that pistachio nuts are potentially one of the more health-promoting foods.” They also help you feel full, so you’re less likely to overeat.

When it comes to taste, I especially adore pistachios from Turkey, available from many online purveyors, as well as the Bazzini brand ( In Sicily, I fell in love with the pistachios from Bronte, the village on Mount Etna, where they’re called “green gold”—it’s possible to buy them online at, but they are quite an indulgence at more than $40 per half-pound!

For convenience when cooking, buy raw, shelled kernels. With a few pulses in the food processor, you can turn them into pistachio flour for cakes or pistachio paste for cake or candy fillings. For the smoothest paste, blanch raw pistachios for two minutes in boiling water, drain them, and use a kitchen towel to rub off the skins. Whether or not you skin them, you can toast them for a few minutes in a low-temperature oven or a dry skillet to bring out their flavor. Pre-roasted pistachios typically have a bit of salt, so they’re trickier to use in sweet recipes (you may be able to simply omit any other salt listed in the ingredients). is a great source for both raw and roasted pistachios.

Fitness Flash: A New Look at Naps ​

Fitness Flash

A New Look at Naps ​

A study in the journal Sleep has found that while taking a nap can be a bit helpful, it can’t replace missed sleep. Researchers from Michigan State University tested whether napping could compensate for the cognitive deficits—such as the ability to think clearly—linked with sleep deprivation. “We found that short naps of 30 or 60 minutes did not show any measurable effects,” said Kimberly Fenn, PhD, an associate professor and director of the Sleep and Learning Lab. But there was a positive. Napping does get you some “slow-wave sleep,” considered the most important sleep stage. This can reduce the number of mistakes you make when you’re sleep deprived. The research noted that every 10-minute increase in slow-wave sleep can reduce errors by about 4%, an amount that sounds small but could make a big difference, especially for people in professions that require life-and-death decision-making—think doctors and police officers.

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The Olive Oil Hunter News #46

Argentinian Skirt Steak Recipe, Spotlight on Red Pepper Flakes, Grilling with Flavored Wood Chips, Fresh Pressed Olive Oil and Brain Function

I love a sauce that tastes like I spent hours making it but that comes together in a matter of seconds! Chimichurri fits the bill. And if you don’t have the needed herbs and peppers growing in your garden or in pots on your deck, they’re in abundant supply at markets this time of year. Plus read below for more information on the benefits of fresh pressed olive oil and improved brain function!


Grilled meat with herbaceous chimichurri sauce is a South American staple, popular in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Substitute flank steak or hanger steak if you can’t find skirt steak.

  • Argentinian Skirt Steak Recipe Argentinian Skirt Steak With Chimichurri

    Grilled meat with herbaceous chimichurri sauce is a South American staple, popular in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Substitute flank steak or hanger steak if you can’t find skirt steak.


    For the chimichurri:

    • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, stemmed
    • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
    • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon fresh or teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 fresh jalapeño, stemmed and seeded, or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons water
    • Kosher salt to taste
    • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

    For the Steak:

    • 2 pounds trimmed skirt steak
    • More kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


    Make the chimichurri:

    Place the parsley, cilantro, garlic, oregano, and the jalapeño or red pepper flakes in a food processor and finely chop, running the machine in short bursts. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream, followed by 3 tablespoons of the vinegar and 3 tablespoons of water. Taste the chimichurri, adding another tablespoon of vinegar to make it tarter, if desired. If necessary, add another tablespoon of water to thin the chimichurri to a pourable consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste; it should be highly seasoned. Set aside for up to 2 hours.

    Preheat your grill to medium-high. Season the skirt steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on its thickness (medium-rare is best). Let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes, then thinly slice the meat on a diagonal. Arrange on a platter and serve with the chimichurri sauce.

    Yields 4 to 6 servings

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Red Pepper Flakes

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight

Red Pepper Flakes

Crushed red pepper flakes are a great, quick way to add a little heat to any dish, and there’s probably a generic jar of it on your spice shelf. It’s typically made from cayenne peppers and includes some seeds for extra zing, but it’s just as easy to make your own using whatever type of dried peppers you like best. Pulse one or two stemmed peppers with their seeds in a coffee bean grinder—be careful not to pulverize them—and then transfer them to a spice jar with large holes in the sifter fitment (that’s the technical name of the plastic piece that snaps over the jar).

Have fresh peppers from your garden? Dry them in your oven or dehydrator or tie them up and allow them to air-dry upside down, and then grind them. Just as you do when chopping peppers, wear gloves when transferring peppers from grinder to jar to keep the capsaicin from getting on your fingertips, which could burn your eyes if you touch them.

Healthy Kitchen Tip: Grilling with Flavored Wood Chips

Healthy Kitchen Nugget

Customize Grilling Flavor with Wood Chips ​

Chips made from fruit tree woods, like apple, peach, and pear, as well as alder, provide a mild flavor, great for chicken and seafood. Hickory, oak, pecan, and maple give meat a bolder flavor, and mesquite adds the strongest flavor of all. Experiment with various wood chips, but unless you’re getting the wood straight from your own tree, buy packets of chips designed for a grill or smoker.

If you use a gas grill, you can still get wonderful smoky flavor: Use a smoker box loaded with wood chips or simply make a DIY aluminum foil pouch filled with chips. Place the smoker box as directed in your grill instructions (some suggest putting it on the grill grate, others below it). Once the chips begin smoking, move the box/pouch to the cooler side of the grill before cooking your food.

For Your Best Health: Olive Oil and Brain Function

For Your Best Health

Olive Oil Helps Counter Cognitive Impairment

A study published late last year in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease highlighted the potential of extra virgin olive oil to improve brain function in older adults with a condition called amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment, or aMCI, characterized by memory loss and the inability to do very complex activities of daily living, and considered an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s. For the first-of-its-kind research, scientists from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Greek Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders compared the effects of high-phenolic early-harvest extra virgin olive oil (HP-EH-EVOO) to moderate phenolic, or MP-EVOO, and to the Mediterranean diet (MeDi) to see how well the HP-EH-EVOO worked as a therapeutic compound (there is currently no treatment for aMCI). Called the MICOIL study, it built on prior research that found EVOO can protect cognitive function.

Study participants were divided among three groups: Group 1 received 50 mL (about 3 tablespoons) of HP-EH-EVOO every day, Group 2 received the same amount of MP-EVOO, and Group 3 was simply told to follow a Mediterranean diet. Also, they were tested for a genetic predisposition to APOEɛ4, a protein linked to the development of Alzheimer’s. After 12 months, Group 1 had better follow-up performance compared to Group 2 and Group 3 in almost all cognitive domains. Group 2 had significant improvement compared to Group 3 in two important cognitive tests. What’s more, there was a significant difference in the level of APOEɛ4 in Group 1 and Group 2 versus Group 3.

The scientists concluded that long-term HP-EH-EVOO or MP-EVOO was associated with significant improvement in cognitive function compared to the Mediterranean diet alone. This isn’t to say that the diet isn’t helpful—dozens of studies have shown it supports many areas of health, including the heart. But, as the researchers point out, it’s not a single prescribed diet, but rather a general food-based eating pattern that varies by local and cultural differences throughout the Mediterranean region. Having 50 m/L of high-phenol EVOO olive oil daily could help further its known benefits.

Fitness Flash Icon

Fitness Flash

Getting Dirty Is Healthy ​

We’re learning more and more about the benefits of outdoor training. As certified health coach and entrepreneur Preston Blackburn wrote in The Power of Dirt: The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise for the American Council on Exercise, “a good old-fashioned messy, muddy, dirty workout can bring benefits beyond the obvious physical ones by improving cognition and reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.”

Getting sweaty and dirty through sports is fun, as any kid who’s played on a field in the rain and rolled around in the mud knows. As adults, Blackburn wrote, these opportunities are few and far between, and we tend to shy away from them even if they do come along, but that’s a mistake. Benefits of the great outdoors start with the gut microbiome-enhancing, immune-system boosting power of actual dirt and extend to the regions of the brain involved in mood and mental acuity. Add in the known vitamin D boost of being outdoors and the calming effects of green spaces, and you have more than enough reasons to get out your old soccer ball and organize a pickup game with friends in the nearest park. Read Blackburn’s entire post here.

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