Thursday 3 February 2011


The Out-performing Olive Oil/Olivenolie/橄榄油 [gǎn lǎn yóu]

For babies from 4 months.

My Danish health nurse told me that it is important for baby to consume sufficient fat in the diet for healthy physical and brain development. However, it is important to use only good fats. Instead of giving baby whole fresh milk, I prefer to give skimmed milk, and then add in the fat by putting a teaspoon of olive oil into baby's food.

Serving ideas for babies:

1. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to porridge per portion, according to the Danish health authority.

2. Instead of buttering whole wheat bread, try drizzling on a little olive oil instead! For older babies, offer the oil as a dip.

3. Drizzle it on to cooked veggies you’ll be serving as finger foods, or add to the food processor when blending your baby’s veggie purees.

4. Stir into mashed potato – delicious

Serving ideas for Adults:

1. Use extra virgin olive oil in your salad dressings.

2. Purée roasted garlic, cooked potatoes and extra virgin olive oil together to make exceptionally delicious garlic mashed potatoes. Season to taste.

3. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over healthy sautéed vegetables before serving.

4. Purée extra virgin olive oil, garlic and your favorite beans together in a food processor. Season to taste and serve as a dip.

5. Instead of putting the butter dish out on the table, place a small cup of extra virgin olive oil out instead to use on your bread or rolls. For extra flavor, try adding a little Balsamic vinegar or any of your favorite spices to the extra virgin olive oil.

Nutritional Value:
Olive oil is a concentrated source of monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and vitamin K. Extra-virgin olive oil also contains polyphenolic phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity.

The mono-saturated fats present in olives/olive oil, when combined with the antioxidant protection offered by vitamin E, lower the risk of damage and inflammation.

The vitamin E present in olives/olive oil has been known to offer cellular protection against free radicals present in the body.

Olive/olive oil contains active phytonutrient compounds, including polyphenols and flavonoids, which have been found to have significant anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies in diabetic patients have shown that healthy meals that contained some olive oil had better effects on blood sugar even than healthy meals that were low in fat. When olive oil is used to enhance a low-saturated fat, high carbohydrate diabetic diet, the diet still has beneficial effects on blood sugar control. In addition to this, a good diabetic diet with some olive oil added helps to keep triglyceride levels low. Triglyceride levels tend to be high in diabetic patients, which is a problem since high levels also contribute to the development of heart disease.

Olives/olive oil prevents the oxidation of cholesterol in the body and thus, helps reduce the risk of having heart attack or stroke. Studies show that including some extra virgin olive oil (which is rich in clot-fighting phenols) in your meals may help prevent the formation of blood clots, an occurrence whose likelihood increases after eating, particularly in people with high cholesterol.

Since they help the body in neutralizing free radicals, the nutrients in olives/olive oil also lead to prevention of colon cancer.

Olives/olive oil are said to be effective in reducing the frequency and/or intensity of hot flashes in women, who are going through menopause.

Regular consumption of olive oil has been associated with decrease in systolic (maximum) as well as diastolic (minimum) blood pressure.

Those who consume olives/olive oil are at a lesser risk of developing diabetes at later stages in life.

Good quality olive/olive oil contains a natural chemical that acts like a painkiller.

Olive/olive oil has been known to be beneficial for people suffering from the following ailments:
- Asthma
- Osteoarthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Arteriosclerosis
- Stomach Problems
- Constipation
- Diabetes

Additional Information:
I always wonder what the word "virgin" oilve oil actually meant. Virgin means the oil was produced by the use of physical means and no chemical treatment. The term virgin oil referring to production is different from Virgin Oil on a retail label (see next section). Therefore, "Virgin Olive Oil" means that the oil has reasonably good flavour and odour and free fatty content not more than 2g per 100g.

"Extra Virgin Olive Oil" therefore means it is the highest grade of olive oil and that the oil has excellent flavour and odour and free fatty acid content of 0.8g per 100g.

Refined on the other hand means that the oil has been chemically treated to neutralize strong tastes (characterized as defects) and neutralize the acid content (free fatty acids). Refined oil is commonly regarded as lower quality than virgin oil; oils with the retail labels extra-virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil cannot contain any refined oil.

Extra virgin olive oil has a very strong taste, thus it may be easier to slowly get baby to use to the taste of olive oil by starting with olive oi, then slowly moving to virgin olive oil and finally extra virgin olive oil. J has already reached the stage whereby he can accept the strong taste of extra virgin olive oil.

Stir-frying methods that would best maintain broccoli's rich array of nutrients were investigated by Spanish researchers. When they stir-fried freshly harvested broccoli florets in various edible oils (extra virgin olive oil, refined olive oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, and safflower oil), they discovered that only broccoli lightly stir-fried in extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil retained the same glucosinolate and vitamin C levels as uncooked broccoli. J Food Sci. 2007 Jan;72(1):S064-8. Still some advocate not to fry food with olive oil:

Olives, one of the oldest foods known, are thought to have originated in Crete between five and seven thousand years ago. Since ancient times, the olive tree has provided food, fuel, timber and medicine for many civilizations, and has been regarded as a symbol of peace and wisdom. The venerable oil of the olive has been consumed since as early as 3,000 B.C.

Olives were brought to America by the Spanish and Portuguese explorers during the 15th and 16th centuries. They were introduced into California by the Franciscan missionaries in the late 18th century. Olive oil has been and still is a staple in the diet of many Mediterranean countries. The recent discovery that the Mediterranean diet, which features this prized oil, may be linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and other health conditions has caused olive oil to become very popular in the United States in the past few decades. Today, much of the commercial cultivation of olive oil is still centered in the Mediterranean region in such countries as Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Turkey.

Olive oil is made from the crushing and then subsequent pressing of olives. The fact that olives are rich in oil is reflected in the botanical name of the olive tree-Olea europea- since the word "oleum" means oil in Latin. Extra virgin olive oil is derived from the first pressing of the olives and has the most delicate flavor and most antioxidant benefits.

Look for olive oils that are sold in dark tinted bottles since the packaging will help protect the oil from oxidation caused by exposure to light. In addition, make sure the oil is displayed in a cool area, away from any direct or indirect contact with heat, since olive oil can become rancid from exposure to light.

Another term that you may see on a bottle of olive oil is "cold pressed." This term means that minimal heating was used when mechanically processing the olives to make oil.


Updates 23 October 2016 (5M7D)

Add 1/4 tsp of olive oil to a saucer of baby food - here broccoli puree (The Danish authorities recommend one tsp per portion of serving. Since we are serving less than a portion, one saucer, we add 1/4 tsp instead)

23 October 2016 (5M7D): Baby C could not wait to eat. She was so eagerly looking forward to it, reaching out her hands for it.

She ate the whole saucer full, unlike yesterday, where she ate only 6-7 scoop. What a difference on this second time she tried broccoli. She seemed to like it a lot. Here is a video:

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