Olive garden nutrition

Olive garden nutrition allows me to discuss a few of the advantages of this humble Mediterranean fruit.

Here are some fascinating facts and figures to ponder.

Allow me as a chiropractor to parade a few of the virtues of the Mediterranean diet, and why it is important for you, the  patient; vital for me, the doctor, too.

Despite what you might read in the popular press, fats and oils are essential in our diet. It's not the healthy, good foods like the olive and avocados that cause obesity but usually simple carbohydrates and those starches with a high glycemic index. It's the refined flour, white rice and sugar, for example, that invite a powerful insulin response.

From our first few mouthfuls of mother's milk which is rich in fat, humans require a diet that is loaded in certain essential fatty acids since they are the chief component of the brain and all nerves. It's the fruit oils, not those from seeds, that are particularly rich in the healthy oleic, but they lack omega 3; both are needed for a healthy body.

Here's an interesting aside. If you want your infant to grow as fast and big as a calf, feed him or her cow's milk. If on the other hand, you want your child to be intelligent, let his mother feed the little mite. It's much higher in fat than bovine for a very good reason.

In fact the poly unsaturates are a massive five times higher than in cow's milk.

Not insignificant is that women who breast feed their babies have a much lower rate of breast cancer too.

Olive garden nutrition

A comprehensive study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (October edition), summarising the results of 11 different research projects involving over 7000 children, shows that breastfed infants tested 5.2 IQ points higher than formula fed infants.

The reason why breast fed babies are more intelligent (and have better eyesight too) is an Omega-3 oil called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which is present in high amounts in mother's milk and generally lower amounts in infant formula. The best source is fatty fish. An astonishing 25% of the grey matter in the normal brain is made up of DHA.

DHA is an "essential" fatty acid. Without it you would die. Without it your baby's mental growth would be stunted. The richest source is cold water fish.

DHA can also be converted from another omega-3 fatty acid, called ALA found abundantly in freshly ground flax seeds. So the vegetarian can also get sufficient DHA.

“Research shows that docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, is required in large amounts in the brain and eyes to support normal growth. Women must be conscious of the importance of having adequate DHA in their diets during pregnancy and, after the birth, ensuring their babes are getting sufficient amounts of this important fat through their breast milk. If a woman is not breast feeding her baby, she should choose a milk formula substitute that contains sufficient DHA.”

pediatrician Dr. Peter Nieman

Fats come in two main forms:

  1. Saturated fats come mainly from animal origins, though they occur in the plant kingdom too. Coconut oil is high in very nutritious saturated fats. Mainly however, they are found in meat, dairy products and eggs. Cholesterol is a saturated fat; and, in moderate amounts, is essential to health.  
  2. Unsaturated fats are found predominantly in oils derived from plants and fish. They too are essential for a healthy body. They may be further subdivided into
  • Polys, or PUFAs.
  • Monos, or MUFAs.

The polyunsaturates are found in seeds such as from sunflower, maize and soybeans. They are very healthy; until they are hydrogenated, which is what is done to make a liquid oil into a solid fat that can be easily spread on bread, as with butter. It's complex, but in nature there are no trans compounds, which is what makes up 50 percent of margarine.

It's my considered opinion as a chiropractor that margarine is bad for us because the body then builds nerve cells using totally foreign building blocks.

Some new margarines are processed further so that they have less trans fatty acids.

Again, the amount of cis polyunsaturated fat in mother's milk is a massive five times higher than that from the cow; it's brain food.

The monos are found in the oil rich fruits, especially our humble olive and the avocado.

In 100 grams of the following oils, these are the percentages seen in the table below.

Notice that olive oil nutrition, and avocado, is 74 percent monounsaturated fatty acids, which is much higher than the others.

The first and immediate concern in cardiovascular health is that too much saturated fat increases the harmful, so called LDLs in the bloodstream. Note that all these vegetable oils, both those from seeds and those from fruits, are low in cholesterol.

Oil Saturates Polys Monos
Olive 14 8 74
Avocado 14 ? 75
Maize 13 59 24
Soya 14 59 23
Sunflower 10 66 20

Saturated fats contain the LDLs that have been associated with the plaque that builds up in the arteries, narrowing their diameter, and hardening them, even more so when associated with smoking. This is called arteriosclerosis.

High levels of LDLs are associated with high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Some saturated fat is necessary, but with caution. It's all about balance.

On the other hand, low levels of HDLs are also associated with cardiovascular disease.

Eating unsaturated oils like sunflower and olive oil do not raise the bad low density lipoproteins, like butter and meat do; but the great, and here relevant, advantage of olive and avocado oils is that a change to them will lower bad LDLs but NOT lower the good HDLs.

Polys on the other hand do lower the levels of the health giving HDLs in the blood, which obviously is not good.

Generally the Western diet is too high in polyunsaturated fats (read seed oils) and low in monounsaturated fats. Both contain some of the essential fatty acids, both are essential. Both are better than a diet high in saturated fat, read animal fat.

New research from Tufts University indicates that just two tablespoons of olive oil per day makes a significant contribution to lowering the inflammation in blood vessels, reducing heart disease.

Olive oil is better than seed oils which we are having too much of. Having said that, it's interesting that mother's milk is very rich in polys.

Just as significant is that olive oil is almost entirely cold pressed and extracted these days, using high powered centrifuges, whereas the seed oils are predominantly solvent extracted, with much heat applied. Thinking more healthy fats? Then think olive garden nutrition.

Complex? Yes! Just accept: animal fats are okay in limited amounts, and in fact some cholesterol is essential for neurotransmitters in the brain and the nerves. Seed oils are better, if cold pressed, than animal fats but the fruit oils, from olives and avocados are the best. These latter two fats do not raise the dangerous fats in your blood, neither do they lower the good ones. For more about the positive effect of alcohol on cholesterol, click here. CHOLESTEROL ALCOHOL ...

Interestingly, the pectin in apples, plums and other fruit also lowers LDLs without lowering the healthy HDLs. For more info about the amazing apple:


The polys are more unstable, and labile to heat, breaking down (oxidised) to harmful products, and frankly taste worse. Better to use less heat-labile fat to fry with: Butter (saturated fat) - assuming your cholesterol levels are under control, palm and coconut oil - and olive oil (high in mono unsaturated fat) are probably the best, though olive oil has a low flash point. 

So, monounsaturated and saturated fats (which are harder to oxidize) like extra virgin olive oil and virgin coconut and avocado oil are better for frying.

Absolutely avoid foods that contain even small amounts of hydrogenated fats, since they contain "trans" fatty acids, and especially hydrogenated saturated fats; hydrogenated saturated fats are the fastest known way to get a heart attack.

Ask, seriously, your fast food restaurant, "when did you last change your french fries oil"? If it wasn't in the last day or two, order a baked sweet potato. It's really difficult; baked potatoes have a very high glycemic index, read are very fattening. 

Seven Country Study

Dr AB Keys studied the levels of heart disease in seven different countries. While the research remains controversial, what is clear is that cardiovascular illness was lowest in Crete, where olive garden nutrition is promoted, and was ten times higher in parts of Finland. 

What is confusing is that Dr Keys used the study to promote his theory that high cholesterol is the cause of heart disease. However, his very own study showed that West Finland, with the same levels as adjacent North Karelia, had a much lower level of coronary illness, but still twice that of Crete.

We have yet to hear the end of the cholesterol mono polyunsaturates story, but consensus has it that we should limit animal fat, and increase the use of olive oil. Thus we recommend moderate use of butter over margarine, because of hydrogenation.

South African Indians are reputed to have the highest rate of heart disease in the world; smoking is widespread, as is obesity. They consume large amounts of omega 6 rich sunflower oil in their curries. It's now known that a high ratio of omega 6 to 3 in the diet is highly inflammatory. 

Tip: Olive oil on bread is delicious, if you are having cheese, salads or dips with your bread. Not so good with bread and honey! The queen was in her parlour ... she uses butter rather than olive oil nutrition!

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"In the same way as the tree bears the same fruit year after year, but each time new fruit, all lastingly valuable ideas in thinking must always be reborn."

Albert Schweitzer

The Mediterranean Diet

Olive garden nutrition is based on the consumption of

1. LARGE quantities of:

2. MODERATE use of:

  • dairy products
  • fish and poultry and eggs several times a week

3. LOW:

  • red meat consumption

For more about the benefits of the olive oil , click here. OLIVE OIL BENEFITS ...

If you want to go just a little bit overboard, then think too about grinding your own healthy flour; those fats are rapidly oxidised once the grain is cracked. Having freshly ground flour will really make your olive loaf, or low GI bread.

Olive pate @ Olive garden nutrition

The people of the Med use the olive in 10,000 differing ways, but few more delicious and simple than olive pate. At any cocktail party, the pate will be finished down to the last smear. But why wait for a party? I try to make it several times a month. Only pitting the olives is a chore and a genuine resident of the shores of the Med will certainly turn up their noses at pitted olives. They taste and are different. Use a glass to squish them, thereafter you can rustle up olive pate in a jiffy.

Low GI bread

Bread and butter, or bread with an olive oil based spread has been a staple since time immemorial. If you are serious about your food, then think about baking your own bread; it takes only five minutes with the use of a bread machine. Grinding your own healthy flour is the next step to consider. That will take an extra minute or two.

To convert a carb into low GI bread, one would normally add a fat like butter, but your olive garden nutrition is even better.

Just the aroma of baking bread makes it all worth while; for less than ten minutes work, including washing the oven dish. We bake low GI bread at least four times a week.


Avocados and olives provide most of the fruit oils, as compared to those from seeds like sunflowers and canola.

Like the olive garden nutrition, the avocado is a fruit particularly rich in healthy mono-unsaturated fats. Plenty of it! Careful, it's fattening - one avo contains 2000 kJ.150-200kcals.

The avo is also rich in water soluble fibre, so is good for constipation, just another good reason for it to find a place in our Olive Garden Nutrition parade, but because of its high kJ content I would recommend rather the beetroot constipation link and the apple diet for that particular misery.

The avocado is full of iron and rich in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant. As one wag said, to stop the iron rusting!

Total fat, even the healthy fats, should only be eaten in moderation. Believe it or not, they are fattening! The only exception is for babies who are fattening their brains, and interesting research being done on serious neurological diseases like ALS and Parkinsons. Sufferers will benefit from being on a high fat diet, with very limited carbohydrate to produce ketosis. For more about that, click here. TINGLING IN ARMS AND HANDS ...

Avocados, along with tomatoes, are also prostate food because of it's beta-sitosterol content.

Notice that butter is back. Dinkum! A powerful meta analysis of 80 research projects concerning the butter versus margarine saga concludes that there is no conclusive scientific evidence that changing to polyunsaturate oils has any benefit.

Stuffed vine leaves

Mostly, our motto at Bernard-Preston.com and Chiropractic-Help.com is Slow Food made Fast, but some healthy dishes just take time. One is stuffed vine leaves but they are full olive garden nutrition. Make it occasionally.

Oleic acid in olive garden nutrition

Olive oil is predominantly made up of oleic acid; it's mono unsaturated as stated above, and thus very healthy, and is designated a omega-9 oil. Replacing your seed oils, which are high in omega 6, in salad dressings with olive oil helps to reduce that inflammatory omega-6/ omega-3 ratio.

The oleic acid is also a vital part of the covering of nerves called myelin. Lose that fatty sheath and they can no longer conduct causing multiple sclerosis. Read more about this at our healthy flour page.

Quick hummus

Quick hummus using your your olive oil is a breeze; I make a tubful several times a week; without chemical preservatives it tastes so much better, but finish it within a few days. The excess goes into our low GI bread to bring down the glycemic index of flour.

Hummus turns a boring green salad into the food from the gods. It's full of chickpea, sesame and olive garden nutrition.


Chiropractic means a healthy nervous system and that means oleic acid; it's the main ingredient of olive oil. Nerves are coated in myelin which is mainly made of oleic acid.

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

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Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.