Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): A Superfood for Kids

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): A Superfood for Kids

A good parent will go to any lengths to ensure their children grow up healthy and happy, even if their child does not appreciate it at the time.  I can still remember my dad painstakingly forcing my sister and I to drink a daily tablespoon of cod liver oil.  In those days, supplements did not come in tidy little capsules that could be swallowed with a glass of fruit juice, so it is having my mouth coated in slimy oil and an unpleasant lingering taste of fish that is indelibly etched into my childhood memories. It was a challenge for us all, there were tears and tantrums, but I eventually came to appreciate it was not punishment, it was a concern for how our little bodies and brains were developing.   

Parents equally concerned about the development of their children might want to consider adding Extra Virgin Olive Oil to their children’s diet.  A significant amount of research into the health benefits of EVOO shows it is an excellent food source for growing children and adolescents. Not only is it loaded with polyphenols that work as antioxidants to fight disease and heal cells, but it also contains Vitamin D for healthy bone development. Children need a lot of calories as they grow and the high calorific content of EVOO comes from ‘good’ monounsaturated fatty acids so do not contribute to childhood obesity.

Some paediatricians argue that EVOO is one of the first ingredients you should introduce to weaning babies so they can continue to receive the DHA-laden omega-3 fats they were getting naturally from breast milk, but also because it can protect their intestine walls, ensure a healthy digestive system, and help them to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. It is therefore good to get kids into the habit of eating EVOO as early as possible.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A Natural Brain Food

Not only good for a child’s physical growth and development, EVOO is also important for cognitive development and ongoing brain functioning. Research published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience into why there are fewer cases of Alzheimer’s disease in Mediterranean countries found that the polyphenol oleocanthal found naturally in EVOO helps to disable the abnormal proteins that attach to brain cells causing memory loss and dementia.

This is not only great news for people prone to or in the early stages of this disease, but people who suffer from headaches, confusion, fogginess, vertigo, and anxiety which may be signs of declining brain cells could also benefit. Parents who ensure their children consume EVOO regularly as part of their diet from an early age could therefore potentially help them to avoid cognitive issues in later life.

In addition, omega-3, more commonly found in oily fish and Vitamins B are also constituents of EVOO and are known to improve brain functioning, boost neuro-psycho-motor development and improve the structure of the retina. Research also suggests that EVOO can help children with ADHD to deal with their symptoms better.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The Dos and Don’ts for kids

In early child development, when fish cannot be introduced to a baby’s diet, or later, when children become pickier in terms of the food they eat, it may be difficult to ensure children get enough of the important fatty acids they need to grow.

I would not recommend spoon feeding your kids pure EVOO and most definitely not to young babies. Whilst your child might not be left with a strong taste of fish as I had, they will probably experience a bitter sensation on their tongue and slight sting in the back of their throat which could put them off Olive Oil for life. That would be a real shame and potentially detrimental to their health!

It should be noted that these sensations, whilst unpleasant, are the flavonoid polyphenols resisting oxidation and fighting disease and a good indication that the oil is freshly harvested and has a high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory value. An interesting fact is that the quality and purity of Olive Oil is determined by three attributes: its fruitiness; pungency and bitterness.

Finding creative ways to add EVOO to your child’s diet will be worth the effort because of the health benefits it offers. Eating the oil raw is always the best option, so if you are fortunate enough to have a child willing to eat vegetables and salads then using as a drizzle or dressing is a great option. I would also suggest substituting butter for oil as a baking ingredient for cakes and cookies to give them a light and unique flavour. The fruity aroma of the olive oil can enhance other flavours commonly used in baking such as chocolate, nuts, spices, and fruit. Adding the oil to mash potatoes, smoothies, scrambled eggs or drizzled over toast are other simple ways to introduce it and with a high smoke point, it is also a great oil for frying or roasting.

If you want your children to get the best health benefits from EVOO it is important to consider the quality and polyphenol content of the oil. November Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a great option and comes in a 3 ltr tin, making it more economical if you are using for the whole family.

Crystallised Honey

What is Crystallisation?

When honey turns from a liquid state to a semi solid state this process is called crystallisation. It is a completely natural process and over time almost all pure raw honey will crystallise, albeit at different rates and consistencies depending on several factors.

 

Why does crystallisation occur?

Because honey contains approximately 70% natural sugars and less than 20% water, honey is in essence an unstable super-saturated sugar solution. The ratio of the two natural sugars found in honey are between 30-44% Fructose and 25-40% Glucose depending on the floral nectar source of the honey which can also impact the size of crystals formed. Honey produced from Wild Thyme for example may be one of the most delicious and nutritious honeys available, but it also has a rapid crystallisation rate. Manuka honey on the other hand granulates more slowly but forms large crystals.  

 

What causes honey to crystallise?

It is the glucose in honey that causes crystallisation due to its low solubility, therefore the ratio of fructose to glucose and glucose to water is perhaps the most significant determinant of how fast crystallisation occurs. In simple terms, the higher the ratio of glucose to water, the faster crystallisation happens because the glucose, which can no longer be absorbed into the water separates to form tiny crystals either uniformly throughout the honey or as two separate layers with the crystals at the bottom and the liquid on top. Beekeepers refer to this as set honey.

Other external factors that affect crystallisation include how the honey is processed and bottled as well as the packaging used. For example, Raw honey which is unprocessed or unfiltered contains small particles of plant components, beeswax and pollen which act as catalysts for more rapid crystallisation. This is also true for honey sold in plastic containers.

The temperature which you store your honey is also important. Ideally it should be stored below 4﮿C or above 25﮿C, with crystallisation occurring most rapidly between 10-15﮿C. To maintain the long-term stability of honey, it is therefore best to store it at room temperature in an airtight container where possible.

 

Is crystallisation of Honey a good or bad thing? A consumer’s perspective.

It is true that people eat with their eyes as well as their mouths, so consumers who expect honey to have a clear runny consistency and smooth texture, may question the purity and quality of honey that crystallises. Neither concern is valid since crystallisation does NOT affect the quality of the honey only the colour, which becomes lighter and the texture which becomes more course and grainy.

Much of the honey found in supermarkets remains in liquid form because it has been highly processed through pasteurisation and filtration to dissolve crystals and remove particles or passed through a process called creaming, where it is rapidly granulated at a low temperature to achieve a smooth texture from ultra-fine crystals which can’t be seen or detected on the palate.

As consumers move away from processed food and look to purchase Raw unprocessed food with greater nutritional value, they should expect to see higher levels of crystallisation in the honey they purchase and whilst set honey may not ‘look’ as appetising to some, it is not only easier to spread it also has a richer flavour.

Therefore, in the end, whether crystallised honey is a good or bad really comes down to personal preference. Questions relating to the quality of the honey are more to do with the providence of the honey and experience and quality standards of the beekeepers. Natura Hives Thyme, Wild Herbs and Pine Honey sold and distributed by MasWorth is produced in a Natura 2000 protected coastal area of Crete which restricts the use of pesticides and is the product of a family of beekeepers who have been producing superior honey for over four generations.    

Natura Hives Honey – Thyme, Wild Herbs & Pine (400g)
£13.90
100% Cretan Honey from Thyme, Wild Herbs and Pine. The...
Sale!
15% OFF with 3 or more Natura Hives Honey – Thyme, Wild Herbs & Pine (400g)
£35.45
This Amazing offer includes 15% discount for the purchase of...

OLIVE OIL: Why Fresh is always best!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Why Fresh is always best!

Why Freshness of EVOO is important

Unlike wine, Olive Oil does not improve with time. Like all fruits, the flavour and nutritional goodness are at their peak when they are first harvested and pressed. These qualities degrade after some months, so many of the potential benefits gained may be lost beyond this point. This is why it is recommended to prefer olive oils that are fresh and using them up to 18 months since their harvest date and not later than that.

For EVOO producers, it is very important to ensure olives are plucked from the tree at just the right time. If producers leave the fruit to ripen too much, the olive oil will lose a large amount of the potent polyphenols that make it so healthy.

Typically, olives start to ripen in early September when they are bright green and still quite bitter. Olive Oils made from September to early November are considered early harvested and contain the highest potency of polyphenols and antioxidants. There is limited production of oil during this stage because the olives are still firm so do not yield a lot of juice, however comes with higher health benefits.

 

Unfortunately, most of the large Olive Oil companies tend to avoid including the harvest date in the bottling together with the expiration date. This is why it so important to choose producers and brands that are fully transparent and share all this important information with consumers.

Benefits of a diet rich in Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Many studies highlight the health benefits of eating a diet rich in EVOO primarily because of its high polyphenol content and excellent antioxidant properties. High Phenolic Olive Oils are considered as natural anti-inflammatories. 

 

Polyphenols are micronutrients naturally occurring in plants and are potent antioxidants that help eliminate the free radicals that continually attack the body damaging healthy cells. This process, known as oxidation, is a natural result of our metabolism and the oxidative stress it produces in our bodies is linked to certain diseases as well as ageing. The antioxidant properties of polyphenols can help reduce abnormal cell formation, combat inflammation and over time, restore cells back to normal health.

 

The most important polyphenols in EVOO include OLEUROPEIN, TYROSOL, HYDROXYTYROSOL, OLEOCANTHAL, CAROTENES and OLEACEIN. Each possess strong antioxidant properties that can help fight specific physical and neurological diseases by reversing the damage caused to healthy cells.  Studies claim that a daily dose of EVOO over a period, either as a natural supplement dosage or used in cooking can for example:

  • Help prevent heart disease
  • Promote good cardiovascular health
  • help control Type II diabetes
  • Reverse the aging process
  • slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s disease
  • counter the free radicals causing certain cancers
  • Act as natural anti-inflammatory, offering some help on autoimmune conditions/other inflammation related conditions

In addition, it helps boost vitamin and antioxidant absorption from other foods.

OLIVE OIL: A NATURAL GREEN BEAUTY ELIXIR

OLIVE OIL: TAKE CARE OF THE INSIDE AND THE OUTSIDE TAKES CARE OF ITSELF

The saying ‘beauty radiates from within’ is often understood with respect to individual personality and character, but it is also true in the sense that what we eat can fundamentally impact our external appearance.  As the largest organ in the body, our skin is the major interface between us and the external environment, so it is essential we take great care of it. Whilst the health benefits of regularly consuming Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil as part of a Mediterranean diet are commonly known, how often do we consider the benefit of using it as part of a natural beauty regime?

 

OLIVE OIL: AN ANCIENT BEAUTY EXILIR

Beauty rituals have existed since ancient times as people have searched for the elusive ‘fountain of youth’. Olive Oil applied directly on skin dates back thousands of years to ancient Greece where the Olive tree thought to be a gift from the Goddess Athena was considered sacred because of its health and beauty benefits.  Used in cosmetics, as a natural eyeliner mixed with charcoal for example and natural skin care, in face masks and moisturisers, women in ancient Greece recognised the cleansing, protective and anti-aging properties of Olive Oil and used it abundantly to enhance their appearance. This ancient wisdom has transcended time and olive oil is still used today as an ingredient in skin care products. But what of using Olive Oil in its purest form as the ancient Greeks did?

 

OLIVE OIL: A NATURAL INGREDIENT FOR GREEN BEAUTY

Whilst for some people, using oils is counterintuitive for fear it might leave the skin oily, I personally have not found this. As an advocate of DIY beauty products, I have experimented with a variety of oils on my skin, which is naturally dry in parts so thirstily drinks up the oil, leaving it smooth and more elastic.

I admit, until now, Olive Oil has not been part of my regime, but the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and healing properties of polyphenols naturally found in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and high vitamin E content that have been proven to fight free radicals and combat oxidative stress which causes collagen breakdown, dark spots, and premature aging make it a natural choice for a green beauty enthusiast.

If you are new to making DIY beauty products or using natural oils directly on your face, there are several ways Olive Oil can be used as part of a natural beauty regime.

  • Makeup Removal: Because oil attracts oil, using olive oil can help dissolve oils commonly found in makeup. Either remove makeup from around the eyes using a few drops of oil on cotton wool and gently wipe across the eyes to avoid wrinkles or massage onto your face in a circular motion and rinse with warm water to remove stubborn oil-based foundations.  
  • Exfoliation: A simple mixture of a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and sugar or salt produces a natural exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and leave your skin feeling rejuvenated and smooth.
  • Cleansing: Mix equal quantities of olive oil and castor oil and rub on to your face. By rinsing with a warm cloth, you can dissolve the oils, dirt and pollutants that clog up the pores and cause blackheads without stripping away your natural barrier and disrupting the skin’s microbiome. This important layer keeps the body healthy by communicating with our internal immune system, fighting infection, reducing inflammation, and protecting the skin from environmental damage. Cleansing with oil is a great first step, especially for people with dry skin and can be followed up with a double cleanse using foam or gel-based cleansers for those with combination or oily skin.
  • Moisturising: Because Olive Oil has occlusive properties enabling it to act as a sealant to trap in moisture, it has an excellent moisturising effect when used on damp skin or over water-based products, helping to protect and balance your microbiome.

It is not only the face that can benefit from Olive Oil, but it can also be used to soften cuticles, as a scalp oil (leave overnight for maximum benefit and avoid if you suffer from dandruff) or as an alternative to shaving creams.

 

OLIVE OIL: NOT ALL ARE MADE THE SAME

If you want to use Olive Oil on your face, then quality matters. Fresh, early harvested Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is always the best option to ensure a good concentration of polyphenols and vitamins. November Early Harvest Organic EVOO contains above 450mg/kg of polyphenols and is therefore an excellent choice not just for consumption but also external application and a little goes a very long way! If you are not into DIY beauty, then purchasing products that contain Olive Oil is also an excellent option. Why not begin the year by trying out products from The White Olive range and start to experience the amazing benefits Olive Oil can have for your skin? 

INFUSED OLIVE OILS: A GOURMET INGREDIENT FOR EXCEPTIONAL AROMA AND TASTE:

INFUSED OLIVE OILS: A GOURMET INGREDIENT FOR EXCEPTIONAL AROMA AND TASTE:

Yesterday was a great day. At 9.30am I received notification from a courier that there were only 26 stops before my parcel containing a shipment of November Organic Infused Olive Oil would be with me. In an age of what seems like endless lockdowns, I have grown to appreciate some of the simpler pleasures in life, particularly food, so like a child at Christmas time I was excited. 

Infused oils are a wonderful and healthy alternative to any cooking fat and a simple way to give meals a gourmet touch by adding aroma and flavour to almost any dish. What specifically attracts me to the November Infused Oils is not only that the base organic extra virgin olive oil has proven health benefits due to its high polyphenol content, but also November infuses their olive oil with organic essential oils obtained from plants to achieve their unique combination of flavours. Typically, I have avoided flavoured oils that contain floating ingredients like rosemary or whole garlic cloves because the water or oxygen they contain are a food safety risk, so this is a big bonus for me.

INFUSED OLIVE OILS: HOW TO USE IN COOKING

Whilst waiting for my shipment to arrive I had given some thought as to how I might use the oils in my cooking. I decided to start simple and use as a drizzle for my evening meal. In less than 20 minutes from starting preparation,I was samplingmy first taste of November Organic Infused Fennel and Lemon Olive Oil by creating a delicious meal of salmon filet on a bed of wholemeal grains and spinach accompanied by a tomato salad with a light infused olive oil drizzle to add a subtle and delightful flavour of aniseed and lemon. It was delicious.

Inspired by my success, my next culinary adventure will be to use the second of the infused oils Laurel and Orange as a Marinade to enhance the flavour of what would normally be a bland chicken breast. I am mindful that the intense flavours of infused oils can overpower a dish and may not be to everyone’s taste so I will use a combination of three parts oil to two parts vinegar.

There are other simple ways the oils can be used. If I think of them as a condiment, I can add to soups, sauces, mayonnaise, and salad dressings to give exceptional flavour. If, like me you do not like intense or overpowering flavours in food, then cutting the infused olive oil with a high-quality oil to balance the flavour is a great option. The November Infused Olive Oils bundle includes a bottle of pure organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, so you don’t need to compromise on quality. 

A little research into using as a cooking oil for Sauteing Meat or Vegetables highlights the importance of cooking at a lower temperature, so the oil does not burn and spoil the flavour. One way to avoid this is to add the oil during the final stages of cooking to ensure maximum flavour and aroma is maintained.

INFUSED OLIVE OILS: LOOK AFTER THEM

Storing oils is an important consideration for maintaining their health benefits and flavour. Air, heat, and light can cause oil to degrade. Whilst the premium bottles of November Oils may look great and are easily accessible sat next to the hob on the kitchen counter, it is advised to store away from direct light and heat, preferably in a dark cupboard and not a fridge.

November Organic Infused Olive Oils are a wonderful ingredient for people who love their food but may not have the time to create delicious gourmet dishes every day. Order your bundle today to start a new culinary journey for yourself or as a perfect vegan gift for family, friends or corporate clients.