Olive oil and healthy cooking

Club Med

No one would ever mistake the elements of the traditional
Thanksgiving feast (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry
sauce, etc.) as recipes from the Mediterranean diet.

But for those of you who will be heading up kitchen command
centers to produce a classic Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, there
is one ingredient you can include that might help make the meal a
little healthier on the heart. That ingredient is olive oil, and it’s one
of the key factors that make the Mediterranean diet so healthy.

My big fat Greek study

Those who live on the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea
tend to eat an abundance of fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, whole
grains, beans and olive oil. About 20 years ago, studies began to
show a clear association between good heart health and a regular
intake of foods in the Mediterranean diet.

More recently, a team of researchers at the University of Athens
Medical School studied the effects of the Mediterranean diet – and
olive oil specifically – on arterial blood pressure. Using
information collected from the Greek arm of the European
Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, the
researchers recorded data such as blood pressure readings, dietary
statistics, physical activity reports and clinical variables on more
than 20,000 subjects who had never received a diagnosis of

The result: High intakes of olive oil, vegetables and fruits were
significantly associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood
pressure. More specifically, the Athens team noted that olive oil
and vegetables are frequently consumed together. But when the
data regarding olive oil and vegetables was mutually adjusted,
olive oil proved to have the dominant beneficial effect on blood

But why separate olive oil from vegetables? They were made for
each other!

In the e-Alert “Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Side Effects”
(8/23/01), I told you about a blood fluidity study conducted in
Germany that showed how a consumption of olive oil and chopped
onions lead to a significant decrease in blood pressure. And the
effects were obvious within just one week.

All kinds of good

According to the World Health Organization, as many as half of
the cases of heart disease may be a direct result of high blood
pressure. And by some estimates, hypertension may be responsible
for more than 60 percent of strokes. So when your Thanksgiving
recipe calls for oil, do your heart a favor and try using olive oil.

Happy Thanksgiving from HSI.


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and another thing

Bad news. The Jones Soda company is currently sold out of what
appears to be a very popular item in their catalog: the Holiday

Here are the five flavors in the Jones Holiday Pack:
* Turkey & Gravy Soda
* Cranberry Soda
* Mashed Potato & Butter Soda
* Green Bean Casserole Soda
* Fruitcake Soda

I ask you, how are we supposed to get through the entire holiday
season without the Holiday Pack?

The folks at Jones should have seen this coming. Last year they
produced 6,000 bottles of Turkey & Gravy Soda and the entire
supply was completely gone before Thanksgiving. So when they
conceived of the Holiday Pack for the 2004 holiday season, why in
the world didn’t they produce MILLIONS of them? Isn’t it obvious
that people would rather drink their holiday dinner than eat it?

The interesting thing about the Holiday Pack is that it’s not nearly
as harmful to your health as standard sodas. I wouldn’t exactly call
these health drinks, but each of the flavors in the Holiday Pack
contains zero carbs, zero sugars, zero caffeine, zero fats and zero

What this means, of course, is that at some point you’re going to
actually have to eat something in order to get some nutrition.

But in spite of the sellout, there’s still a chance you could put your
hands on a Holiday Pack. You can enter your name on a waiting
list at the Jones Soda web site (jonessoda.com), and they’ll contact
you if they “find additional units available.” You can also check
the Jones Soda distributor network on their site to see if there’s a
distributor near you. And the Holiday Pack may still be available at
some Target stores.

If you do happen to score a Holiday Pack, please send an e-mail to
let us know if you can actually stomach a bottle of Turkey &
Gravy soda. Cranberry soda? Not a problem. But Turkey & Gravy
soda? Green Bean Casserole Soda? I have to confess, those don’t
really pique my thirst – or my appetite.

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson
Health Sciences Institute


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