I’ve known olives and olive oil since I was a child. My mother comes from one of the North Adriatic islands where wine and olive oil were the „earners“ of the families.
When the olives harvest times came, we’d all come to the island to help my grandfather with this hard work. These olives harvests are etched in my memory with the colder autumn weather and strong north-east wind (called “bura”). I remember my cold hands diligently picking this magic, small fruit for hours. Today I don’t mind the cold fingers so much during the olives picking days (and the weather’s changed, too). However, I can’t avoid slight back strain and calloused knees J. But, it is always a great fun and enjoyment for all. And the reward is our own delicious olive oil which we use for various purposes during the year.
Olive oil, like wine, has been around forever. For people of the Mediterranean, it has had vital nutritional value through the ages and today we know that it has a medicinal powers, too. The olive tree is considered a symbol of peace and glory.
Olives were first cultivated in the Mediterranean around 5000 B.C. Here, in the North Adriatic, In Istria and Kvarner, we have many archaeological findings of ancient amphorae used to transport olive oil by the sea.
Olive oil was used in medicines and different ointments. It was also used for nourishment and as an overall healing agent.
Organic olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, and is considered a good fatty acid (high density lipoproteins, HDLs) protect against bad cholesterol, or low density lipoproteins (LDLs).
Delicious olive oil contains all the vitamins and nutrients of the olive fruit, and if you get a really world top class olive oil, which you can find in this area, it will taste better and will have a full aroma of the local herbs and fruits.
Scientific studies show that people eating two tablespoons of virgin organic olive oil daily for one week show less oxidation of LDLs and higher levels of antioxidants in their blood. If you use extra virgin olive oil, you will benefit from higher levels of antioxidants, especially vitamin E. Olive oil benefits are so extensive that it is considered a functional food with components that contribute to its overall therapeutic qualities including a reduction of risk factors of coronary heart disease, the prevention of cancers, and alterations of immune and inflammatory responses.
The health benefits of olive oil are unrivaled, and research reveals more benefits nearly every day. In fact, we are only just beginning to understand the countless ways olive oil can improve our health, and our lives.