You’ll always find olives at the center of history. For thousands of years, people have acknowledged the importance of this fruit on both, therapeutic and symbolic fronts. And yes, olives are fruits, not vegetables. Had me fooled, too. These little bitter, grape-impersonators date back to as early as 4000 BC. You’ve probably heard the story about Noah and the olive branch. Remember the flood? Right after, Noah sent a dove to search for land. After a while, the dove returned with an olive branch in its beak, reassuring Noah that somewhere out there, was solid ground. Long after Noah, people began to take up the olive branch as a symbol of peace. In times of war, presenting an olive branch to enemies was considered as a peace offering.
From ending wars, the olive branch moved on to becoming a crown for Olympic champions. This tradition withered away after a while only to be revived again in Athens at the 2004 Olympic games. Today, you can find the olive branch on several flags. Seven nations, to be exact, along with 4 US states and even the United Nations flag. But what about most of us who are neither Olympic champions, nor a flag? What does the olive tree have to offer us, if not its branches? Its oil.
One of the greatest physicians of all times and the father of medicine, Hippocrates, called olive oil “the great therapeutic”. Even without modern technology and pharmaceutical skills, he knew what olive oil can do. Preventing heart disease, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, skin benefits… the uses go on and on. The Ancient Greek even mixed some olive oil with ground charcoal to make the very first eye shadow. Today, more than 2.25 million liters of olive oil are used each year, though perhaps not in making eye shadow.
So how is this olive oil made? Well, obviously from the olive fruit. The fruit are taken from olive trees and cold pressed to give the yellowish green oil we know. The advantage of cold pressing the olives is that any heat involved doesn’t pass 27 degrees Celsius, which ensures that the healthy components of the oil don’t degrade or spoil. Not everyone pays attention to this during manufacturing. One product though, that pays attention to every small detail, is Asaro Olive oil. From the Asaro olive trees to the Asaro Olive oil, every step of the way is calculated, tested and perfected.
The interesting thing about these trees though, is that olive trees can live for extremely long periods of time. Millennia, in fact. Their average life span is 300-600 years but they can reach 2000. The oldest, yet still fruitful, olive tree in the world is 4000 years old, standing tall and proud in the heart of Crete.
Spain is considered the world’s largest olive oil exporter and that’s due to its large variety of olives (about 250 types). Second on the list is Italy followed by Greece. Together, these 3 account for 75% of the world’s olive oil. Now, while Spain is first in production, Italy might as well be first in quality thanks to Asaro Olive Oil. Now let’s get to why the world needs Asaro Olive Oil so much.
The reason Asaro Olive Oil has so many uses and benefits is because of its components. It contains a high percentage and diversity of fatty acids. Generally, there are two types. Essential and non-essential. Asaro Olive Oil has both. But what’s the difference between them? Essential fatty acids are called essential because we need to take them externally. They can’t be manufactured endogenously. So we have to either eat them, drink them or apply them topically. Your body considers them precious and vital to many processes. They can build cells, activate enzyme and many other physiological functions. This is why your body never uses essential fatty acids as a fuel source.
As for non-essential fatty acids, their name can be misleading. Non-essential doesn’t mean you need them or don’t need to take them externally. Sure, your body can synthesize them, but only if you’re eating properly and even so, it makes a small amount. You still have to include non-essential fatty acids in your diet. Now, Asaro Olive Oil not only provides you with both, but the types of fatty acids it contains are very unique. Ever heard of omega fatty acids? Yes, the ones everyone’s hyped about. And for good reason. These fatty acids have proven to be beneficial to almost every organ in your body. That’s why pharmaceutical companies have been trying to make omega isolates and sell them expensively to those who don’t know the cheap natural alternatives.
There are three types of omega fatty acids in Asaro Olive Oil. Omega-3, 6 and 9. Let’s start with omega-3. The one found in Asaro Olive Oil is called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA for short. This ALA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). Ring a bell? It’s been all over the internet lately how PUFA are a good form of fats and how they’re great for your heart and so on. It’s true. PUFA, or more specifically, alpha-linolenic acid, is something you want to include in your diet if you want a longer, healthier life.
The reason Mediterranean people are less likely to suffer from heart diseases is thanks to their diet. They focus a lot on fruit, fish, vegetables, whole grains, flaxseed oil and of course, olive oil. All of these contain alpha-linolenic acid. It lowers the risk of coronary heart disease and angina attacks. In some studies it showed that people who sustained a diet rich in alpha-linolenic acid were less likely to have a heart attack. Another study was carried out on two groups of women. The first, followed a diet consisting of a large amount of ALA (1.5g) per day. The other group also took ALA but only 0.5g per day. In the end, they compared the two groups and found that the first group had a much lower chance of sudden cardiac death. 46% lower, to be exact. In other words, those who didn’t get enough ALA were twice as liable to sudden cardiac death. Imagine those who don’t get any alpha-linolenic acid at all.
Scientists continued to study Mediterranean people’s life style and how it impacts their health. They found that thanks to the types of food they preferred, they had higher HDL cholesterol than most people. HDL (high density lipoprotein) is called “good cholesterol”. The more you have, the healthier you are. The bad cholesterol everyone’s afraid of is called LDL (low density lipoprotein). These two are usually on opposite sides of a scale. When one goes up, the other goes down. Asaro Olive Oil helps to lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase HDL levels. Alpha-linolenic acid was also proven to lower triglyceride levels in blood. Overall, by having lower cholesterol levels, your arteries are much less liable to blood clots and plaque formation. These are dangerous because they can lead to atherosclerosis, which in turn, can lead to heart attacks.
Another common disease people are afraid of is hypertension. Although some don’t realize they’re hypertensive until it’s too late, by maintaining an ALA-rich diet, you can help minimize the risk. Whether taken as a supplement or naturally in Asaro Olive Oil, alpha-linolenic acid lowers blood pressure. In fact, a recent population study showed a reduced risk of blood pressure by almost 30%. That means that almost one in every three individuals could’ve gotten hypertension but didn’t, thanks to ALA.
Alpha-linolenic acid has strong anti-inflammatory properties. This is helpful with any swollen or inflamed skin, joints or tissue. Some preliminary studies have also shown this could benefit asthma patients as well. By reducing the inflammation associated with the bronchial spasm and also improving lung function, ALA can effectively improve the symptoms of asthma. It has also been linked to a lower amount of inflammatory mediators in patients suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
As beneficial as alpha-linolenic acid is, you’ll be surprised to know that the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) has put a limit on the amount of ALA allowed in olive oil. They’ve stated that it must be less than 0.9%. So is more ALA bad for you? Not at all. They just use this limit to be able to differentiate between pure olive oil and adulterated versions. These adulterated olive oils often contain canola oil which has a higher ALA percentage but overall, less healthy. Basically, to make sure it’s authentic, olive oil can’t have too much ALA. Asaro olive oil is as authentic as it gets. We’ll get to why in a bit.
The second type of fatty acid that Asaro Olive Oil contains is omega-6 fatty acid. This time it’s called linoleic acid (without the alpha and the “n”). It’s another essential fatty acid that we have to include in our diet. If you hadn’t received the right amount of omega-6 in your food as a child, you wouldn’t be who you are today. That’s because linoleic acid is responsible for the growth and development of children’s brains. Without it, behavioral and cognitive function would suffer greatly. Perhaps it’s role in the brain is also the reason linoleic acid has been helpful in treating ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder).
Linoleic acid has also been found to improve symptoms of some diseases such as arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and even allergies. This comes down to its strong anti-inflammatory properties. It can reduce swelling, redness, itchiness, irritation and even morning stiffness that can be associated with many of these diseases.
In females, studies have shown that linoleic acid can help relieve symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) such as depression, cramps, fluid retention and breast tenderness. It can reduce monthly menstrual pain as well as another type of pain called mastalgia. It’s basically breast pain common in patients with cyclic and non-cyclic mastalgia. Menopausal women have also been responsive to omega-6 fatty acids. They’ve reported improvements in the hot flashes and night sweats that are associated with menopause.
The third and final omega in Asaro Olive Oil is omega-9. This one is called oleic acid. It’s a monounsaturated fatty acid that makes up about 55-83% of olive oil. Unlike the ones before, oleic acid is non-essential which means our body can make it on its own. So why do we need it? Well, do you care about your heart, your brain and your mood? Because that’s where Asaro Olive Oil works. Some studies have shown that its omega-9 fatty acids can improve memory and cognitive functions. This was especially useful for Alzheimer’s patients who still don’t have a definite cure for the disease to this very day.
Oleic acid also helps improve your mood and fight anger and depression. It makes you feel energetic and proactive throughout your day. This might be why people who eat healthier foods that contain omega fatty acids are usually more physically active and happier with themselves, than those who follow unhealthy diets.
Omega-9 fatty acids work alongside omega-3 to improve your cardiac health and lower the risk of heart disease. They also maintain the right HDL to LDL ratio in your blood by reducing LDL and increasing HDL. This helps prevent cholesterol from building up inside your arteries which can lead to heart attacks.
Stearic and palmitic
They’re are two more fatty acids that aren’t from the omega family.
Stearic acid and palmitic acid. Both are saturated non-essential but as we agreed, that doesn’t mean we don’t need them, right? In fact, some people call palmitic acid the “stem” fatty acid because our body needs it as a starting material for the synthesis of other fatty acids. Palmitic acid also goes into making our body’s lung surfactant which is absolutely vital to our respiratory system and our ability to breathe. In animal studies, it’s been proven to lower the risk of atherosclerosis when taken in moderate amounts. Non-essential but vital, nonetheless.
Asaro Olive Oil contains much more than 3 types of fatty acids. It’s rich in flavonoid polyphenols such as hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol. These give it its bitter, astringent taste. Along with vitamin E, they make Asaro Olive Oil a powerful antioxidant. But why do we need antioxidants? Chemical reactions in our body are constantly producing free radicals as byproducts. These free radicals are basically unstable atoms that cause oxidative stress and damage to our cells. For example, when skin gets exposed to UV light, free radicals are produced making it look old and wrinkled. It’s one of the top causes of aged-looking skin. The same goes for most organs in our body. Free radicals affect them on the cellular level, essentially impairing their health. That’s why it’s nice to have free radical- scavengers like polyphenols and vitamin E to look out for your cells.
The very last component worth mentioning is the PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Many people are afraid of these because they can be dangerous to your health. While that can be true, they’re only hazardous in large amounts. Asaro Olive Oil contains very little PAH. You should however, avoid burning Asaro Olive Oil or heating it to its smoke point because that will not only spoil it, but also increase the number of PAHs, like any other oil.
Choosing an olive oil
Despite the different names you’ll see, there are generally two types of olive oil. Refined and unrefined. You might see a bottle that says “pure olive oil” or just “olive oil”. Those are refined. That means that certain chemicals were used to modify the taste. They resort to refining when the olives being used are of low quality, from different sources or simply taste incoherent. By removing the bad taste from the end product, you would have no idea what olives went into making the oil. This is why refined olive oil is much cheaper.
If you see a bottle that says virgin or extra virgin olive oil, those are unrefined. That means they didn’t just extract the oil and bottle it up. A lot of care was put into the process. Why? Because the manufacturers know they won’t be using chemicals to hide any unpleasant taste, so they use good olives from the start. That’s why virgin oil is much healthier and has less contaminants than the refined. As for the extra virgin, it has the most health benefits. It’s made from the best of the best. You can actually taste the fresh, healthy olive fruit in the oil.
Overall, whether it’s refined or unrefined, the benefits of olive oil are the same. So stick with a brand that you know uses only the best olive sources. Italian olive oils are great. Even though the US has olive farms in California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Oregon and Hawaii, it’s still considered the largest importer of Italian olive oil. And when it comes to Italian, Asaro Olive Oil is the best choice straight from the heart of Valle del Belice, Sicily. It’s the product of Tommaso Asaro’s 15 years of agricultural experience. He took his four-generation family farm and changed it to an organic, pesticide and chemical-free olive farm. He immediately stood out from other Sicilian farmers with his biodynamic farming methods. Asaro believes that if you treat your land with love and respect, it’ll repay you with kindness and prosperity. So get some olive oil and try out its health benefits. After all, isn’t your body your own “Asaro’s land”?