It is clear that extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest products we can consume. Recognized all over the world and not only thanks to the Spaniards, but also through some “foreign fans” like Dr. Simon Poole. In Spain, we are very proud of our products, our food and our gastronomy. But maybe because of bad international marketing on our part we have been forced to sell our olive oil wholesale to the Italians, who bottled it and sold it as theirs. However, in recent years, Spain has begun to export directly and massively its olive oil.
This work to put us back on the map is also shared by foreign colleagues. This is the case of Dr. Simon B. Poole, a Cambridge doctor who has become in recent years the champion of the EVOO and the Mediterranean diet. Dr. Poole recently participated in conferences at the World Olive Oil Expo.
Almost all doctors around the world are aiming to cure their patients, but Dr. Poole with a somewhat different approach: he advises his patients to follow the best diet in the world, the Mediterranean diet. According to him, this is totally scientifically proven, his patients would have lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol, are more fit and even thinner! God knows what will happen to the Mediterranean diet after Brexit, he complains bitterly.
Olive oil and Mediterranean diet
But why has this diet become so popular? Dr. Poole explains the causes: It took us a long time to realize that low fat diets are not healthy. It is just necessary to replace bad fats with good ones, like that of olive oil.
The 2013 PREDIMED study conducted in Spain provided irrefutable evidence. With a Mediterranean diet the incidence of heart attacks is reduced by 30%. In addition, the benefits of polyphenols and their anti-inflammatory effects have also been the subject of much research and discovery.
Going to the Mediterranean diet is very easy. Imagine, at 11 o’clock in the morning, a Saturday on the terrace of a bar, a plate with a good toast, covered with tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and good slices of Iberian ham. That’s the Mediterranean diet, the easiest to follow without effort or sacrifice. It’s not just a diet but a healthy and delicious lifestyle.
The problem on the British Isles
But now, “God knows what will happen with Brexit” says Dr. Simon B. Poole. The problem is the olive oil that has to be imported from Spain. In addition, Dr. Simon B. Poole explains, the British people must understand that having a small bottle of EVOO for special occasions is not enough at all, it takes liters / person / year to get a healthy Mediterranean diet.
The future of olive oil
This is undoubtedly one of the most interesting foods under the microscope. Every day there is a new study associating olive oil (or the Mediterranean diet) with a positive effect on health. In the current scientific world, Mr Poole explains, three very specific areas are currently under study. The main one is the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of polyphenols (a group of chemicals found in olive oil).
The second area of research concerns the microbiota, and the effects of olive oil on the intestinal flora and its effects on health. The latest studies would show that this relationship would be more than positive.
Finally, Dr. Simon B. Poole seems particularly excited by the results on the epigenetic field. We all have a completely determined DNA, but some environmental factors such as climate can change how genes work. Epigenetics is the science that studies the mechanisms of an individual’s genes. The latest studies would show how olive oil would be able to turn on or off certain coded switches of our DNA.