Monthly Archives: June 2014

Beauty, Inside and Out

Last month 79-year-old actress Sophia Loren stole the show at Cannes when she was honored for her work in The Human Voice (La voce umana), a short film directed by her son, Edoardo Ponti.

Audiences around the world watched in awe as the face of this exceedingly beautiful woman filled our screens yet again. Oh, to look that good at any age.

While Loren is blessed with legendary bone structure she also uses olive oil as part of her daily beauty routine both internally and externally.

Her Mediterranean diet has always ensured that she includes at least two tablespoons of EVOO in her food intake but the famous beauty has also been known to rub a small amount into her skin to keep her skin moisturized.

She also adds a couple of capfuls into a hot bath for a skin-nourishing soak.

American actress and healthy guru Gwyneth Paltrow also promotes the internal and external use of olive oil.

Her 2013 cookbook It’s all Good uses EVOO in a significant proportion of her recipes.

On her much talked about website Goop, Paltrow includes an interview with Dr. Nicholas Perricone who advises: “The most powerful member of the Olive Oil Polyphenol group is Hydroxytyrosol. Extremely rare, and effective in even small concentrations, this super antioxidant, anti-inflammatory has been proven to be effective in improving general health and appearance.”

And the secret of Paltrow long silky tresses: “I often recommend that people use a half cup of olive oil and work it through dry hair, concentrating on the driest parts, combing it through but avoiding the roots.”

For those interested in DIY hair-masks these can be found in abundance on the internet and are as simple as mixing olive oil with a few drops of essential oil. Perfect for a day at home when you can really let the mixture sink in.

Organic olive oil producer Bellucci Premium also lists ways that olive oil consumption can aid beauty. “For your skin, olive oil has the same anti-inflammatory properties as ibuprofen, which can reduce the redness and prominence of acne, stretch marks, and other skin conditions. Studies also say that olive oil is rich in antioxidants, which can help lower the risks of melanoma, a harmful type of skin cancer.”

So beauty may come from the inside, but it seems a few of the external applications of olive oil as a beauty aid before your next close up can’t hurt either.

Add Olive Oil to Vegetables to Lower Blood Pressure

One of the main characteristics of the Mediterranean diet is the frequency of vegetable-rich meals and salads cooked in plenty of olive oil. And while we know that the addition of olive oil to vegetables can increase the absorption of vitamins and antioxidants, it appears that this powerful combination has another significant health effect: it may protect from high blood pressure.

A new study published in the journal PNAS, suggests that an eating pattern that combines unsaturated fats (such as olive oil) with specific vegetables rich in in nitrite and nitrates can protect from hypertension. Nitrite rich vegetables are mainly green leafy types such as spinach, wild greens, and root vegetables. These vegetables are consumed on a daily basis within aMediterranean diet and always with olive oil. Researchers found that when these two foods are combined you have the formation of nitro fatty acids.

For this study, mice were used to examine how nitro fatty acids control blood pressure by inhibiting an enzyme that is known to regulate blood pressure.

The results showed that the mice genetically engineered not to be reactive to this enzyme process had no change in blood pressure, while in normal mice the nitro fatty acids lowered the blood pressure.

The researchers concluded that the common combination of unsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil with these vegetables contributes to the protective action of the Mediterranean diet.

In another study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers were able to demonstrate by using mass spectrometry, that extra virgin olive oil as well as fresh olives are also a source of nitro fatty acids on their own, thus potentially contributing even more to the antihypertensive effect.