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Purchased olive oil of fine quality

Going back few weeks I wrote an article on olive oil, and put emphasis on why olive oil is good for us and how to purchase good quality olive oil. Just to freshen up everyone’s memory, here is the link to that article – How Well Do You Know Your Olive Oil.

Today I went to the market and focused on few points which helped me to purchase the right olive oil.

First thing I looked into was the tinted color glass bottle. This is because the tint color protects the olive oil from direct light which may damage the quality of the oil.

Tint colour bottle for olive oil

For me nutritional information is very important. As you can see on the next picture, the label mentions that the oil has no cholesterol or sodium. Another important thing I looked for is, that which oil is more richer in monounsaturated fats as compared to other oils on the shelf. As you can see, the label mentions 11 grams of monounsaturated fat per serving size (15ml) and 71 grams per 100 ml. Other oils were higher in saturated fats per 100 ml and did not contain enough monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats help in reducing the risk of heart disease by reducing bad cholesterol in blood. These are also known to normalize blood pressure and blood sugar. Hence buying an olive oil richer in monounsaturated fats is always a better choice, so choose the one which is richer in these fats.

 Olive Oil Nutritional Information

Last but not the least, it is very important to know whether the olive oil is fake or authentic. Again in my previous article “How well do you know your olive oil“, there are certain pointers that I highlighted, which may help you to purchase olive oil of finer quality. As you can see below, the olive oil I bought has a certified seal (CERMENT) that guarantees its authenticity from Italy. Also this oil had it nowhere mentioned on the bottle words such as  blended, purified, refined, etc. These words on the bottle mean that the oil is not pure and has gone through some chemical process, hence its not extra-virgin at all. Some of the extra-virgin oils on the shelf had those words written on them. After considering all these signs I was sure that I am buying the product of fine quality.

Olive oil certified seal

Choosing a good product between many bad products is a hard process. It requires time and attention. You are a consumer and you possess the power of knowledge. Don’t let these companies cheat you. Step forward and make a good and informed purchase. Making informed decisions will help your health in a long run and will save you from those extra medical bills.

Eat all fresh and stay healthy 🙂

-NAKUL BAJAJ

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Are you eating enough fibre

Goodness of fibre

-Image credit – demos.appthemes.com

We often hear people saying, that fibre is good for the body and helps in weight loss. However they fail to mention, that why it is good for the body and how it helps to achieve weight loss. Fibre is one of the most important nutrients studied by doctors, nutritionists and dieticians. Also fibre has a great reputation in the world of ‘dieting and weight loss’. In recent years due to rising blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, fibre has become a focal point of interest for many research institutes and scientists.

So what is fibre?

Fibre or dietary fibre which is also referred as roughage(ruffage in American English) is simply the indigestible part of plant foods. Yes, fibre is never digested i.e. fibre is never broken down by the human body. Hence fibre has no calories.  As partially mentioned in one of my previous reads – ‘What carbohydrates you are eating, fibre is a type complex carbohydrate. However it is not digestible.

This characteristic of fibre raises an important question-If fibre doesn’t get absorbed by the body and doesn’t provide energy, why do we need it in our diet?

Just like carbohydrates fibre can be divided into two categories – Soluble fibre and Insoluble fibre.

Soluble fibre is a fibre that dissolves in water. Do not get confused, I said dissolved not digested. This fibre forms a gel like material after dissolving in water. Water carries this fibre through our body where it absorbs excess glucose from the food in small intestine, hence helping in removing excess glucose to stabilise blood sugar. Another great property of soluble fibre is that it absorbs bad cholesterol from the blood. The gel like material flowing through our blood sticks to cholesterol and leaves the body through waste removal.

Insoluble fibre is the type of fibre that does not dissolve in water. It rather acts like a sponge where it absorbs waste and become bulkier. Due to its characteristic of being non-digestive it leaves the body intact through intestines with all the absorbed waste. Its main purpose is to improve the movement of food through the digestive system and promote healthy removal of stool from the body.

Some great benefits of fibre rich diet

Soluble fibre helps in removing excess glucose from the blood. It stabilizes blood sugar thus keeping the energy level normal. As a result there is no pressure on pancreas to release excess insulin. As pointed out in the post – “What carbohydrates you are eating’’, excess insulin production in the body can make the body less sensitive towards insulin and increasing the chance of diabetes in the long run. Soluble fibre is recommended to prevent diabetes in people. Food rich in soluble fibre is also prescribed by doctors for diabetic patients.

A diet rich in fibre helps to maintain healthy bowel movement in the body. Insoluble fibre acts as a vacuum to absorb waste associated in the intestines. It accumulates the waste and form a bulkier state before leaving the body. This helps in preventing certain diseases related to constipation. If waste does not leave the body, it starts decomposing in the body due to reaction with bacteria. In some cases constipation can cause serious infection. Insoluble fibre helps in removing this waste.

As mentioned earlier soluble fibre helps in absorbing bad cholesterol from the blood. Bad cholesterol sticks to the artery walls and can damage the heart tissue or can even result in stroke. Research has suggested a diet rich in soluble fibre is very good for removing bad cholesterol from the blood.

Soluble bacteria due to its property of dissolving in water can help to aid the condition of diarrhoea. It solidifies the stool by absorbing water thus helping in smooth removal of toxic waste.

One of the greatest advantages of fibre is that it helps in losing weight. Soluble fibre absorbs water in the stomach thus making you feel full. Another reason is, that soluble fibre absorbs excess glucose from the blood thus lowering the state of insulin production. Due to this, energy is conserved in the body which makes you feel full for a longer time. It’s quite unlikely for a person to overeat when feeling full.

An indirect benefit of fibre is that its presence is usually accompanied with other complex carbohydrates that help in conserving and slowing down the release of energy. Hence a diet rich in complex carbohydrates is a diet rich in fibre.

Foods rich in fibre

Whole foods such as brown rice, brown bread, oats, bran, whole pasta, cauliflower, cucumber, zucchini, cabbage, carrots etc. are rich in insoluble fibre. Hence these foods can help in aiding constipation and help in healthy bowel movement.

Lentils, beans, carrots, apples, cucumbers, celery, strawberries, nuts, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, cauliflower etc. are rich in soluble fibre. Hence these foods are good for maintaining healthy blood sugar and removing bad cholesterol.

Some of the foods mentioned above are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. It’s good to maintain a balance between the two. Hence foods rich in both should be considered on daily basis.

Daily healthy intake

According to study conducted by Institute of Medicine in 2012, men and women below fifty should consume at least 38 grams and 25 grams respectively. Above fifty men and women should consume at least 30 grams and 21 grams respectively. Most of the labels mention fibre content per serving on the pack. The good thing about fibre is unlike other nutrients it doesn’t get destroyed while cooking. It’s a good idea to include leafy greens in your cook and some salad on the side daily to maintain a good fibre balance in your diet.

One fun and interesting fact about fibre to think about: The human digestive tract is twenty-eight feet long. Fibre helps move waste along this large muscle.

Keep fresh and stay healthy 🙂

NAKUL BAJAJ


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How Well Do You Know Your Olive Oil

Olive Oil

There are a lot of us who prefer using olive oil as compared to other vegetable oils for daily consumption. Some of us enjoy the flavour, some of us love its smell and majority of us consume it to reap out the extra benefits for our health. Yes, olive oil does offer extra health benefits. I will share two most important benefits for our health:

1. Richer In Antioxidants: What are antioxidants and how do we benefit from them?Before we understand antioxidants and their benefits for us, it is important to understand the process of Oxidation. In simple words, oxidation is a chemical reaction which if occurs, can produce free radicals. These free radicals are very chemically reactive and thus result in chain reactions. When a chain reaction occurs in a cell it can cause damage to the cell or even can destroy a cell.
Antioxidants help to inhibit the process of oxidation and in some instances help to inhibit the other chain reactions taking place in the cell.
Hence olive oil being richer in antioxidants provides the benefit of repairing damaged cells and helps to maintain these cells in good condition.

2. Monounsaturated Fats: Olive oil is rich in ‘unsaturated fats’ such as monounsaturated fats as compared to saturated and trans-fats which are found in many vegetable and animal based cooking oils.Monounsaturated fats help in lowering the risk of heart disease by reducing the cholesterol level and reducing the level of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (bad cholesterol that sticks to the artery walls).
Some research has also indicated that monounsaturated fats help in normalizing blood clots in our body and normalizing insulin levels thus controlling blood sugar. Hence olive oil is a much better alternative for maintaining a healthy heart and for people who have already reached a stage of type 2 diabetes.
However keep in mind that like most oils olive oil is rich in calories, so only if consumed in moderation one can reap out the maximum benefits.

As shared in my previous blog ‘MAKING INFORMED AND THUS BETTER DECISIONSmost of the olive oils especially ‘extra virgin’ olive oils sold in today’s market are not pure and thus do not offer the benefits as indicated above. Most of these olive oils are either blended with other vegetable oils, processed or have already lost most of the benefits. These are some points you should consider before buying your Olive Oil:

1. Make sure the bottle is dark tinted. Exposure to light can destroy the smell and flavour of olive oil. Avoid buying olive oil packaged in clear containers especially plastic ones. Also at home store them away in a cabinet away from light and heat.

2. Don’t buy if the label of extra virgin oil uses words such as purified, refined or blended. These brands are often produced with lower quality, blended with other vegetable oils to enhance the taste and are processed. In other words the product is not truly extra virgin or pure.

3. As compared to wines, oils do not improve in taste or quality with age. Oils lose their taste and quality with time. Please check the date to make sure you are not buying anything more than two years old.

4. As some of you may know that even small producers who grow olives, engage in making of fresh olive oil that makes it way to the market. Often such olive oil brands include their estate name on the bottle. Hence an estate name on the bottle is a mark of fine quality. Equally good is that some of the products may even have an official seal which guarantees that the oil comes from a designated region that specializes in producing oils – PDO( European Union’s official ‘Protected Designation Of Origin’ Seal) or a similar seal from Italy DOP (‘Denominazione di Origine Protetta‘). Just do not blindly buy if the product says ‘Product of Spain’ or ‘Product of Italy’, as some of these products may have been packaged or processed in these places and the actual olives are grown somewhere else.

5. A USDA (Certification ofUS department of Agriculture’) organic seal on olive oil bottle guarantees that the ninety-five per cent of the olive oil is made from olives that are grown free from pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Some brands may use their own country’s agriculture department seal or even get them certified by country they are exporting to. Again this seal guarantees a product of fine quality. However not all bottles may have it as some small producers cannot afford to get this certification.

I hope from tomorrow we can go to supermarket and purchase good quality of olive oils without hesitation. Please share your experiences and some information that I may have missed out in regards to this post.

Please do not hesitate to ask questions or to send your feedback.

Eat Healthy and Stay Fresh.

–          NAKUL BAJAJ