Mediterranean Diet Lowers Death Risk for Heart Patients

Olive oil

Olive oil


New research indicates that the Mediterranean Diet reduces the mortality risk for heart disease patients more than taking statin medications.

Being that heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, the fact that dietary habits can make such a huge impact is remarkable, though in some ways not surprising.

The Mediterranean diet, characterized by high consumption of vegetables, fruit, olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish and poultry, is well known for its many protective benefits from various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s and cardiovascular disease.

A new study, however, looked at participants who already suffer cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes, blocked arteries), which is different than many studies that evaluate general populations.

The study, titled ‘Higher adherence to Mediterranean diet is associated with lower risk of overall mortality in subjects with cardiovascular disease: prospective results from the MOLI-SANI study,’ is not yet available for full review.

Giovanni de Gaetano, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at the IRCCS Neuromed Institute in Pozzilli, Italy, presented the abstract of the paper at the ESC Congress in Rome on August 28, according to a press release from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

In brief, the study was an observational study looking at approximately 1,200 participants out of 25,000 in the EPIC study. Food intake was evaluated via a food frequency questionnaire and the Mediterranean diet score (MDS) was used to evaluate the relationship between MedDiet consumption and total mortality.

Only 208 deaths occurred during the 7.3-year follow-up and the authors conclude that “a 2-point increase in the MDS was associated with a 21 percent reduced risk of death.” This was even greater, 37 percent, when participants had top-category adherence to the MedDiet.

“The major contributors to mortality risk reduction were a higher consumption of vegetables, fish, fruits, nuts and monounsaturated fatty acids — that means olive oil,” said Marialaura Bonaccio, the lead author of the research.

Professor de Gaetano also suggests that the mechanisms are likely related to other factors that have been seen as protective in other diseases: for example, the influence of a MedDiet with olive oil on inflammatory and oxidative stress factors that initiate and promote disease states.

In recent years, statins have been criticized by researchers as being ineffective and many of the studies on statins have not been independent, but funded by pharmaceutical companies. And, like most medications, statins come with adverse side effects.

Although more research will now be needed, Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said for The Telegraph that: “This study suggests that even if you are already receiving medical care, if you add a Mediterranean diet, it will have further benefit.

“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, even if you have had a heart attack or stroke is really important and continues to benefit you.”

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Roarin’ Shrimp And Grits





¼ lb. panko

6 oz. grits

¼ cups water

1 oz. butter

pinch salt and pepper

½ lb. tiger shrimp

½ lemon

3 bay leaves

12 cups heavy cream

olive oil

12 cloves garlic


Throw 1 oz. of butter into a pan and add water. Add salt and pepper as you’d like. When water starts boiling add grits. When it’s firm throw panko in. Mix together in a one-inch pan and let it cool in the fridge for about eight hours. Once it’s cooled cut into squares that measure to either one inch to two and a half inches.

Boil water and add tiger shrimp. Toss in half a lemon, pepper and three bay leaves. Boil for approximately three minutes and chill for six minutes in a cooler (or chill on ice).

Heavy Cream:

Add olive oil to a pan and add heavy cream. Incorporate garlic and parsley and mix together. Add butter and add a spoonful of olive oil and garlic salt to taste.

After grit cakes have cooled, cut into pieces and warm in oven for five minutes at 300 degrees. Sautee grit cakes in pan 1.5 minutes even each side. Toss shrimp in heavy cream.

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Making tapenade, the Provençal olive paste, for a California kitchen

Martha Rose Schulman at

Greek olive, tomato and feta tapenade

Total time: 15 minutes | This makes about 1 ¾ cups tapenade
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves (to taste), green shoots removed
  • 3 ounces pitted kalamata olives, or a mix of kalamatas and amfissas
  • 1 scant tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 1 ounce chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed; about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 ounces feta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound medium size ripe, juicy tomatoes (1 large or 2 medium), cored and finely chopped
  • STEP 1: Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop in the garlic. When it is chopped and adhering to the sides of the bowl, stop the machine and scrape down the sides. Add the olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes and thyme and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • STEP 2: Add the feta and pulse until incorporated. Add the olive oil and pepper and pulse until incorporated.
  • STEP 3: Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the chopped tomatoes. Refrigerate if not serving right away.Kalamata and oil-cured olive tapenade with tuna

Kalamata and oil-cured olive tapenade with tuna


Total time: 20 minutes | This makes about 1 1/4 cups tapenade

  • 2 garlic cloves, halved, green shoots removed
  • 2 ounces pitted kalamata olives (about 20)
  • 2 ounces pitted black oil-cured olives (about 20)
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 (15-ounce) can olive oil-packed tuna, drained
  • STEP 1: Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop in the garlic. When it is chopped and adhering to the sides of the bowl, stop the machine and scrape down the sides. Add the olives, capers and thyme and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • STEP 2: Add the lemon juice, olive oil and mustard and process until the mixture is smooth. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • STEP 3: Add the tuna and pulse until well combined with the olive puree. Do not process too much or the texture will be overly pasty.
  • STEP 4: Transfer to a bowl or serving dish. Refrigerate if not serving right away.

    Green olive, basil, and almond tapenade


Total time: 15 minutes | This makes about 1 cup tapenade

  • 2 garlic cloves, green shoots removed
  • 1/2 pound large almond-stuffed green olives (about 24)
  • 4 anchovy fillets, rinsed
  • 1 ounce fresh basil leaves (about 2/3 cup, tightly packed)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • STEP 1: Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop in the garlic. When it is chopped and adhering to the sides of the bowl, stop the machine and scrape down the sides. Add the olives, anchovies and basil and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • STEP 2: Add the lemon juice, olive oil and pepper and process until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired. Transfer to a bowl or serving dish. Refrigerate if not serving right away.
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Banana Muffins with Olive Oil and Dark Chocolate

By Jessica at

yield: about 15 muffins     total time: 35 minutes


  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 6 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside. Line a muffin tin with liners.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg and brown sugar together until smooth and no lumps remain. Add in vanilla extract, olive oil and bananas, whisking again until combined. Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated. Stir in the milk and mix until just combined. Fill each muffin liner 2/3 of the way full with batter (I use a 1/4 cup measure to get the muffins to be of equal size). If you’d like, you can place a very thinly sliced banana slice on top of the muffin before baking.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until tops are no longer wet and become slightly golden. Remove and let cool until cool to the touch.

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Tuna Poached in Olive Oil



Recipe by: Chef John on

“You’re perfectly happy eating regular canned tuna until the day you taste the imported, olive oil-packed tuna and realize exactly what you’ve been missing. You tell people that there’s nothing better, but that’s not entirely true. There’s this. By gently poaching fresh ahi tuna in olive oil, you can create a tuna fish of exceptional quality. The taste and texture are amazing, and you can adapt this in many ways. Besides switching up herbs and seasonings, you can cook the fish to a wide range of doneness.”


2 (10 ounce) thick-cut ahi tuna steaks

6 sprigs fresh thyme

2 cloves garlic, bruised

1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 cups olive oil, or as needed

sea salt to taste
Cook 10 m / Ready In 1 d 1 h 20 m
Let tuna rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.

Combine garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes in a heavy skillet. Pour olive oil into skillet to reach a depth of 1 inch. Heat oil over medium heat until garlic and thyme begin to sizzle, 5 to 10 minutes.

Place tuna gently in hot oil and reduce heat to low. Cook steaks in hot oil, spooning oil over the top of the steaks constantly, until fish is white and hot, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat, transfer steaks to a baking dish, and pour hot oil and herbs over the fish. Cool fish and oil to room temperature.

Wrap baking dish tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate steaks for 24 hours. Remove fish from oil and sprinkle sea salt over the top.

Lemon and more Lykovouno EVOO drizzled on top.

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