Olive oil ingredient could help stop cancer from developing in the brain, study suggests

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The study into oleic acid, the primary ingredient in olive oil, has shown how it can help prevent cancer-causing genes from functioning in cells.

The oily substance stimulates the production of a cell molecule which can prevent cancer-causing proteins from forming.

The research team at Edinburgh University says it is too soon to say whether or not dietary consumption of olive oil can prevent brain cancer.

Their findings do point towards possible therapies based on the oil to prevent brain cancer from occurring.

Dr Gracjan Michlewski who led the study, said: “While we cannot yet say that olive oil in the diet helps prevent brain cancer, our findings do suggest that oleic acid can support the production of tumour-suppressing molecules in cells grown in the lab.

“Further studies could help determine the role that olive oil might have in brain health.”

Scientists at the university analysed the effect of oleic acid on a cell molecule, known as miR-7, which is active in the brain and is known to suppress the formation of tumours.

They found that oleic acid prevents a cell protein, known as MSI2, from stopping production of miR-7.

In this way, the olive oil component supports the production of miR-7, which helps prevent tumours from forming.

Researchers made their discoveries in tests on human cell extracts and in living cells in the lab.

The study, published in the Journal of Molecular Biology, was funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

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15 amazing things you never knew you could do with olive oil

Contributor Chloe Pantai  at www.theinsider.com

Growing up in a Greek-Cypriot family that makes a lot of food, olive oil has always been a focal point in the kitchen.

But olive oil isn’t just good for cooking with. My family uses it about as liberally as the family in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” uses Windex — and they sing its praises as a hair and beauty product, a massage oil, and even a leather polish.

I asked my relatives, friends, and coworkers for all the wonderful ways they use olive oil that most people have no idea about.

Here are 15 things you can do with a bottle of olive oil:

1. Hair mask: Apply a quarter-sized amount of olive oil to your hair with your fingers and cover your hair with a shower cap (Saran Wrap also works). Leave it in for up to an hour and rinse it out in the shower before you wash your hair. It’s my go-to moisturizing hair mask.

2. Shaving cream substitute: As a cheaper alternative to shaving cream, put olive oil on your legs before shaving. It’ll protect you from razor burn and your legs will feel super smooth after.

3. Body scrub: Save money on exfoliators by making your own scrub with olive oil and sugar. Mix the two, then apply the concoction in circular motions over areas like your knees and elbows to buff away dead skin in the shower, or to heal chapped lips.

4. Moisturizer: While I haven’t used olive oil as a moisturizer, many people say it’s a miracle worker on dry skin — especially on knees, elbows, and hands. Some people use it to repair cracked heels, and wrap their feet in socks after applying the oil to seal in moisture. One friend told me she even puts it on her eyebrows.

5. Makeup remover: Many of my friends rave about using olive oil as a natural makeup remover. It’s much cheaper than wipes, better for your skin, and I’m told it’s especially good for removing eye makeup.

6. Makeup brush cleaner: Some beauty experts say mixing extra virgin olive oil with antibacterial dish soap is the best way to wash makeup brushes. The brush gets a thorough clean, while the oil keeps it soft.

7. Cuticle softener: Before your next manicure, soften your cuticles with a few drops of olive oil. Rub it into the cuticles before pushing them down and trimming. Just be sure to wash off excess oil before you apply nail polish.

8. Baby care: My mom reminded me that my great-grandmother mixed olive oil with mastic gum to give baby massages to me and my cousins. The oil also works as a natural remedy for diaper rash and cradle cap.

9. Ear cleaner: Putting a couple of drops of olive oil in the ear can safely remove earwax. The American Hearing Research Foundation suggests leaving the oil in the ear for a few minutes before resting your ear on a towel to get wax out.

10. Wood/leather/stainless steel polish: Olive oil can be an essential cleaning product. Dab a small amount onto a cloth to polish leather, stainless steel, and wood. I use the oil to clean my favorite pair of leather ankle boots, and keep my wooden chopping boards glossy. Some bloggers say they use it to shine stainless steel pans and even the kitchen sink.

11. Pet care: Pet owners add a little bit of oil to their cat and dog food to help keep their pets’ fur healthy. In cats, it can also act as a natural lubricant for hairballs.

12. Sticker remover: Rub olive oil over stubborn price stickers and labels on glass jars, and they’ll slide right off. My husband showed me this trick, and it’s been a game-changer ever since.

13. Spoon cleaner: When cooking with gloopy ingredients like honey, it can be impossible to get everything off the spoon. Dip the spoon in olive oil first and ingredients will slip off, according to Food Renegade.

14. Lower cholesterol: Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that can lower low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol, making it a healthier substitute for cooking with and using as a salad dressing.

15. Butter replacement: As a healthy fat, olive oil can be used as an alternative to butter. It can replace butter in most baking recipes, and works well in chocolate brownies. Many people also use it on bread — as a dipping oil with balsamic vinegar, or even to make toast.

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Barbecued Little Gems With Cucumber, White Beans, and Tahini

Recipe excerpted from ‘Gather: Everyday Seasonal Food from a Year in Our Landscapes’ by Gill Meller         thedailymeal.com


For the Barbecued Little Gems With Cucumber, White Beans, and Tahini

  • 3  Tablespoons   extra-virgin olive oil (LYKOVOUNO)
  • 2  Garlic cloves, peeled and grated
  • 1 (14-ounce) Can  white beans, such as cannellini or butter beans
  • 1 Lemon  juiced, and zested
  • 2  Tablespoons   tahini
  • 4  Tablespoons   plain yogurt
  • 2  Tablespoons   flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 4  Little gem lettuces, halved, washed, and patted dry
  • 1 Medium  cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into half-inch slices
  • 1 Small  bunch of chives, finely chopped and a few left whole
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


For the Barbecued Little Gems With Cucumber, White Beans, and Tahini

Heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, then add the garlic. Fry for 25 to 30 seconds, until the garlic begins to soften, then add the white beans and lemon zest. Stir to combine, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, until the white beans are warmed through. Now, stir in the tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, and parsley, along with 2 to 3 Tbsp of water. Cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until spoonable. If it’s too thick, add a little more water. Remove the pan from the heat.

Light your barbecue. Season the little gem halves with salt and pepper, and drizzle them with 1 Tbsp of the oil. When your barbecue coals are glowing nice and hot, lay your little gem lettuce, cut-side down, onto the grill. Grill the lettuce for 5 to 10 minutes on each side—how long will depend upon the heat of your coals, but aim for the lettuce halves to soften, take on some color, and caramelize; a little charring improves the dish. (Alternatively, cook on a preheated grill pan.) When the lettuce halves are ready, place them on a large serving platter cut-side up.

Put the bean and tahini dressing back on the heat to warm through, and give it a final stir. Spoon it over the lettuce, making sure it trickles through and around the layers of leaves. Scatter over the prepared cucumber, sprinkle with the chopped chives, strew over the whole chives, then drizzle over the remaining Lykovouno olive oil and season everything with salt and pepper. Serve the salad immediately.

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The Mediterranean Diet: The Answer To Rising Health Care Costs?

As I began writing this blog post, I found myself wondering how many people reading it will have actually bought a fresh turkey from the butcher, cleaned it and cooked it themselves —from scratch? Not many, I’ll wager, given the preponderance of pre-packaged butterballs and even of pre-cooked meals to take home — timesaving benefits of today’s industrialized society. Fast-food meats home-cooked meal. But is it actually as good for you as the meal grandma used to make?

This is about more than cooking and spending time in the kitchen; or about going back to the good old days when strawberries weren’t imported from halfway around the world, served in places and at times of the year when the best your parents could hope to have were photos of strawberries. It’s about the relation between how you eat and what you become. It’s about health.

Governments around the world today are trying to figure out how to manage escalating health care costs — particularly those centering on systemic diseases that currently plague the modern world, such as heart disease, the world’s number 1 killer, according to the World Health Organization. Then there’s cancer and diabetes.

One good way would be to start encouraging people to eat well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle before they start falling ill, by focusing on diet. That was the main takeaway of an international conference on food values I attended February 14 in Vatican City’s Casa Pio IV (Pope Pius IV), under the patronage of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Organized by olive oil proponent Paolo Pasquali of Villa Campestri in the Mugello Valley near Florence, the conference focused on Food & health, Food Traditions & Cultural heritage, and Food Values, and drew experts from the field of medicine, diet, nutrition, and cuisine to discuss “The Renaissance of the Mediterranean Diet and its Significance for a 21st century World. Pasquali points out, “There is no mystery about the relationship between diet and heath, both physical and mental. “Mens sana in corpore sano” – a healthy mind in a healthy body. And this can be achieved by returning to the food values of old, based on fresh produce, lean meats and fish and of course olive oil.”

What Is The Med Diet?

Basically, the Mediterranean diet includes fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, pasta and rice…and limits unhealthy fats. More specifically, according to the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean diet emphasizes:

• Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts

• Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil

• Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods

• Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month

• Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week

• Enjoying meals with family and friends

• Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

Getting plenty of exercise

Bloomberg’s just-released (March, 2017) Global Health Index of 163 countries shows that Italy — cradle of the Mediterranean Diet – boasts the world’s healthiest people, despite a struggling economy and unemployment among young people approaching 40%. “A baby born in Italy,” says the report, “can expect to live to be an octogenarian,” with far less incidence of high blood pressure than the US, UK, or Canada. Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia made up the rest of the top 5 healthiest nations. The US ranked 34, and tipped the scales as one of the world’s heaviest nations.

Medical research makes a good case for the Mediterranean Diet as a powerful force in staying healthy — one good way to contain healthcare costs. For example, the Mayo Clinic website states: A meta-analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality as well as overall mortality…(other) research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. The diet has been associated with a lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol that’s more likely to build up deposits in your arteries.

The Mediterranean diet is also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.

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Lemony Spaghetti Squash and Shrimp Scampi with Spicy Yogurt Sauce


Recipe by Jen Valencia of Avon, Ohio at  Today.com

190 calories, 19 g protein, 3.5 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 3 g fiber, 6 g sugar (0 g added sugar), 670 mg sodium

Nutrition analysis courtesy of Genesis software



    • 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half, seeds removed
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1 leek stalk (white and light green parts), halved and sliced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • Fresh parsley, chopped
    • 4 tablespoons Parmesan

    • 1 lemon, juiced
    • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt



Heat oven to 350˚F.

Season spaghetti squash with salt and pepper. Roast squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet coated with olive oil, for 45 minutes, or until tender.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and sauté shrimp and sliced leeks until shrimp is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for additional minute, set aside.

Add lemon juice, zest, wine, Dijon mustard and red pepper flakes to pan. Bring to a boil and then let simmer on low. Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt.

Once squash is tender, remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Scrape out all strands of spaghetti using a fork and place in colander in the sink. Blot with a paper towel to remove excess liquid.

Toss sauce with spaghetti squash strands in serving dish. Add shrimp and leek mixture. Garnish with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

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