Health Tips, nutrition

Memory enhancing EVOO

Olive-OilI am regularly regaled with the benefits of Coconut oil (predominantly a saturated fat) but personally I am not a fan. By all means moisturise with it, use it as a mouth cleanser, rub it through hair etc, but don’t eat too much of it. The purported health benefits just don’t stack up in the research. On the other hand Olive oil (a mono-unsaturated fat) has a bucket of research showing positive health benefits including this recent report indicating that extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) protects memory and learning ability and further, decreases the risk of brain changes commonly associated with Alzheimer’s.

EVOO achieves these protective benefits by reducing brain inflammation and activating a process called autophagy, which clears old cells and toxins (garbage disposal) from the tissues. Researchers now think that the protective effects of the Mediterranean diet against dementia are equally from EVOO as they are the high intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Go EVOO!

As it is the season for brussels sprouts (I love them!) I have included a recipe that includes them and lashings of lovely olive oil. I like to use Australian olive oil as the olive tree groves tend to be younger and thus richer in polyphenols and antioxidants, the important plant chemicals that contribute to the health benefits of EVOO.

Shaved brussels sprouts, olive oil, lemon and pecorino

Serves 4-6
450g brussels sprouts
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
3½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
½-1 tsp whole black peppercorns, crushed
115g pecorino cheese, grated or shaved

1 Rinse the sprouts, then pat dry with kitchen roll. Remove any discoloured outer leaves, then cut the sprouts in half, lengthways. Very thinly slice them the sprouts crossways, transferring to a large, shallow serving bowl as you go.

2 Drizzle the oil over the sprouts, sprinkle with salt and toss well. Add the lemon juice and pepper and toss again. Lay the cheese on the top of the salad and serve immediately.

Recipe from: The Perfectly Tossed Salad by Mindy Fox