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    Olive oil



    I can't imagine the Mediterranean without olive trees or Mediterranean food without olive oil.

    They were irrigating olive trees in the Levant 7,000 years ago.

    They're much "younger" in Italy.

    The olive harvest is a time of great joy, partly because you get to taste the first pressed oil.

    The simplest way to enjoy it is probably the best. Just pour it on good bread. We also sometimes warm herbs in it first, but not always.

    The cannellini recipe he shows is also great. If you use canned white cannellini beans, which are perfectly acceptable, it's done in fifteen minutes or less. I just made it in fact. (I don't like to use the liquid in the can; rinse, drain, and add warm water to the beans.) Delicious.

    This is peppery Tuscan oil, and the more delicate, fruity Ligurian oil is excellent as well.



    Some of my earliest memories are of the big nets underneath the trees, and the crates of olives being taken to the frantoio. Life was harder, but maybe it was better.


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    In Catalonia, we still have some local producers that go to a local mill, where the olives are pressed in the traditional way. We go and buy 75 liters of olive oil every season. Unfortunately, this is not enough for us, and we end up buying some more in the supermarket. Maybe we should buy 125 liters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farstar View Post
    In Catalonia, we still have some local producers that go to a local mill, where the olives are pressed in the traditional way. We go and buy 75 liters of olive oil every season. Unfortunately, this is not enough for us, and we end up buying some more in the supermarket. Maybe we should buy 125 liters.
    I think you should. :) I wish I had the opportunity, like my relatives. That way they know it really is "pure".

    It's amazing how much one plant has benefitted the world, and not only for food related purposes. It was and is used as an antibacterial for wounds and burns, in treatments for hair, in soaps, on machinery etc. My great aunt swore that a teaspoonful when you weren't feeling well, especially if it was related to stomach problems, did wonders. :) Since it seems it kills the bacterium which causes ulcers, she may have been right.

    Then there's all the uses to which olive wood was put.

    For anyone interested in "beauty" uses, I swear by some of these:
    https://www.allure.com/story/diy-bea...-for-olive-oil

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    I believe that frequent olive oil consumption is one of the most determinant factors in the high life expectancy of Mediterranean countries. Bloomberg just published a ranking of the world's healthiest nations and Spain and Italy come on top despite only ranking 30th and 33th for GDP per capita at PPP (IMF - 2018), and 25th and 29th for Human Development Index. It isn't just about quality of healthcare either (Italy ranks 40th and Iceland 43th). Diet is important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I believe that frequent olive oil consumption is one of the most determinant factors in the high life expectancy of Mediterranean countries. Bloomberg just published a ranking of the world's healthiest nations and Spain and Italy come on top despite only ranking 30th and 33th for GDP per capita at PPP (IMF - 2018), and 25th and 29th for Human Development Index. It isn't just about quality of healthcare either (Italy ranks 40th and Iceland 43th). Diet is important.

    Yes, indeed it is. So are genes.

    You can do everything "right", but if you've inherited a "bad" version of x, y, or z, neither diet nor exercise is going to necessarily change the outcome, although in some case, of course, it might.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Yes, indeed it is. So are genes.

    You can do everything "right", but if you've inherited a "bad" version of x, y, or z, neither diet nor exercise is going to necessarily change the outcome, although in some case, of course, it might.
    If you inherit certain types of cancer like my mother and two sisters did, no amount of diet will change the course of the disease. Or you develop a congenital, not genetic mutation that my mother-in-law did. All of these women did everything right, ate healthy but all developed cancer.

    Now as far as why is Spain and Italy on top, it is a combination of less stress, healthy diet, walking and not driving everywhere, extended family and friends and of course a decent healthcare system that does not cost an arm and a leg. BTW, Spain ranks #6 in the healthcare index.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsnake49 View Post
    If you inherit certain types of cancer like my mother and two sisters did, no amount of diet will change the course of the disease. Or you develop a congenital, not genetic mutation that my mother-in-law did. All of these women did everything right, ate healthy but all developed cancer.

    Now as far as why is Spain and Italy on top, It is a combination of less stress, healthy diet, walking and not driving everywhere, extended family and friends and of course a decent healthcare system that does not cost an arm and a leg.
    Life in the villages is quieter, but that must happen anywhere in the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Yes, indeed it is. So are genes.

    You can do everything "right", but if you've inherited a "bad" version of x, y, or z, neither diet nor exercise is going to necessarily change the outcome, although in some case, of course, it might.
    Most genes related to health are found in all populations at a national level, I don't think that interpersonal differences would affect life expectancy or overall health scores significantly. It may happen in tiny countries like Austronesian island states, but not in populations of several millions, IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsnake49 View Post
    Now as far as why is Spain and Italy on top, it is a combination of less stress, healthy diet, walking and not driving everywhere, extended family and friends and of course a decent healthcare system that does not cost an arm and a leg. BTW, Spain ranks #6 in the healthcare index.
    The stereotype of large extended families in southern Europe is long gone. The lowest fertility rates (average number of children per woman) in Europe are now in Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Bosnia (all 1.3 child per woman), followed by Portugal, Malta, Croatia, Greece, Ukraine and Poland (1.4). So extended families don't explain better health or longer life expectancies in Italy and Spain.

    As for exercising, WHO data on the prevalence of insufficient physical activity shows that the least physically active countries in Europe are Germany (40% of adults not getting enough exercice), Portugal (37.5%), then Italy (36%). Spain does well (22%) though. In other words, it's not as big a factor as people would think. Italians can be among the least physically active and still rank on top for health.

    I think that the quality of healthcare is far more important for life expectancy, although not necessarily for "feeling healthy". It seems quite difficult to assess the quality of healthcare in a country.

    The WHO has attempted to rank healthcare systems in 2000 and among countries with over 5 million inhabitants the top 5 was France, Italy, Spain, Austria and Japan.

    A 2016 study published in The Lancet measured performance on the Healthcare Access and Quality Index for 195 countries. Here is their ranking. Italy 9th, Japan 12th, Spain 19th, France 20th... Not much in common with the WHO ranking.




    Numbeo create their own healthcare ranking based on numerous factors and this time had Taiwan, South Korea and Japan on top, with France 5th, Spain 6th, but Italy 40th. So who is right?

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    Without having specific knowledge, I want to state something obvious: the people that die now are mostly the people that were born around 1930s. In Spain, at that time there still was a traditional way of eating and living. Also, they were eating little, which is known to extend longevity. And health care has improved when they started to need it (around 1990s).

    It is not clear to me that the lifestyle of current Spaniards (or Catalans) is conducive to a high lifespan.

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    Olive oil is already produced in 56 countries on five continents, including in this group, in addition to traditional producers, new countries in
    recent years, such as El Salvador, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Macedonia.

    In Spain there are about 400,000 olive growers, who move their production to 1,755 mills. In the country 1,550 packing machines and 22 are registered refineries On the other hand, it is also remarkable that Europe produces almost 67% of the oil produced in the world, and that Spain generates a third of all the world production of olive oil, with Andalusia being the quintessential producer of olive oil in the world. Between

    The provinces of Jaén and Córdoba produce 64% of all the annual olive oil generated in Spain. This circumstance, well managed It has an extraordinary commercial value: the world's leading producer of olive oil.

    It is also necessary to differentiate where the current consumption of olive oil is (72% of the consumption in Traditional Markets and 28% in New Markets), where it was in 1991 (85% in Traditional Markets and 15% in New Markets) and that, in certain campaigns, the consumption of New Markets has reached 29% of world consumption.

    According to the most recent registry data obtained in the Central Mercantile Registry, in Andalusia 353 of the 686 are registered
    Spanish olive oil manufacturing companies, that is, just over half of all Spanish olive oil manufacturers.

    Debugging of the registry data, since some companies do not show activity in recent years, it would yield a figure of
    “active” companies in Andalusia of 219 companies, out of a national total of 439 companies with activity. Clearly highlight locations
    from the provinces of Córdoba and Jaén, where 64% of all Andalusian companies are located.

    Spanish olive oil exports show a constant progression in the period 2010 - 2016. Growth in this time has 61%, considering the export in euros of 2016 with respect to the exported value of olive oil in 2010. Attending to Most recent statistical data of the AICA (Food Information and Control Agency) (May 2017), exports show in the current campaign (2016 - 2017), as far as statistical data are possessed (October to May), a better behavior than the average of the four previous campaigns regarding Spanish exports.

    Among the destinations of the Spanish export, Italy stands out, which alone accounts for almost 31% of the total exported in 2016.

    Then, in order of importance, there are destinations such as the United States of America. France, Portugal, United Kingdom, China, Japan,Australia, Germany, Brazil, Holland, Mexico, Belgium, South Korea and Russia.

    As regards Andalusia: The export of olive oil from Andalusia was worth 2.3 billion euros in the last campaign. These exports are associated, mainly to Seville, Cordoba, Malaga and Jaén, in order of importance.

    The value of these exports has grown 79% in 2016 compared to 2010. Within these exports, the product Internationalized par excellence is virgin olive oil.

    https://www.extenda.es/wp-content/up...LUCIA-2017.pdf



    Seeing this study it is clear that the countries that have the highest life expectancy are those that consume Andalusian olive oil.

    I ask for large quantities for the whole year, they bring me from Jaén from a family farm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farstar View Post
    Without having specific knowledge, I want to state something obvious: the people that die now are mostly the people that were born around 1930s. In Spain, at that time there still was a traditional way of eating and living. Also, they were eating little, which is known to extend longevity. And health care has improved when they started to need it (around 1990s).

    It is not clear to me that the lifestyle of current Spaniards (or Catalans) is conducive to a high lifespan.
    That's a great point. It hadn't occurred to me.

    My last time home I saw my first "fat" Italian child in my area. Maybe it's imported snacks, the arrival of American fast food places, video games?

    More than one of my great-aunts lived into their mid 90s. Maybe that won't happen again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farstar View Post
    Without having specific knowledge, I want to state something obvious: the people that die now are mostly the people that were born around 1930s. In Spain, at that time there still was a traditional way of eating and living. Also, they were eating little, which is known to extend longevity. And health care has improved when they started to need it (around 1990s).

    It is not clear to me that the lifestyle of current Spaniards (or Catalans) is conducive to a high lifespan.
    That is correct , food is the biggest killer ..........over eating

    The rule is, stop your meal while you are still hungry.

    I keep telling my mother, mother-inlaw etc.......the war is over, you do not need to worry about your family eating
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    The stereotype of large extended families in southern Europe is long gone. The lowest fertility rates (average number of children per woman) in Europe are now in Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Bosnia (all 1.3 child per woman), followed by Portugal, Malta, Croatia, Greece, Ukraine and Poland (1.4). So extended families don't explain better health or longer life expectancies in Italy and Spain.

    As for exercising, WHO data on the prevalence of insufficient physical activity shows that the least physically active countries in Europe are Germany (40% of adults not getting enough exercice), Portugal (37.5%), then Italy (36%). Spain does well (22%) though. In other words, it's not as big a factor as people would think. Italians can be among the least physically active and still rank on top for health.

    I think that the quality of healthcare is far more important for life expectancy, although not necessarily for "feeling healthy". It seems quite difficult to assess the quality of healthcare in a country.

    The WHO has attempted to rank healthcare systems in 2000 and among countries with over 5 million inhabitants the top 5 was France, Italy, Spain, Austria and Japan.

    A 2016 study published in The Lancet measured performance on the Healthcare Access and Quality Index for 195 countries. Here is their ranking. Italy 9th, Japan 12th, Spain 19th, France 20th... Not much in common with the WHO ranking.




    Numbeo create their own healthcare ranking based on numerous factors and this time had Taiwan, South Korea and Japan on top, with France 5th, Spain 6th, but Italy 40th. So who is right?
    When I use the term extended family I mean closeness to parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc. Yes, with fewer children the numbers are smaller, but I think it's the quality of the relationship and geography as well.

    My father's cousin, for example, lives with her daughter in the bottom floor of a two story house. The grandson has the top floor of the house with his family. They built on the second floor to accommodate him and his family of two. The granddaughter was given a third of an acre of land and she and her husband built a house there on the family property. Two others of my father's cousins in that area did something very similar. Luckily they live very near to La Spezia, and within under an hour of other reasonably large towns, and they have good jobs there.

    Friendships are also very intense and long lasting. People remain life long friends with people with whom they went to primary school.

    Close social bonds like that do have an impact on health.

    As for health care, I don't know the statistics or what is measured by each organization. I can tell you that the deficiencies in care because of lower staffing in hospitals, for example, might be made up for by families and friends. When this cousin went to the hospital, family and friends took shifts so that she was almost literally never alone, and there was always someone there not just to monitor, but to get water, feed her, help with bedpans etc. The hospital I saw had what was like a recliner next to the bed so you could sleep there, and from the one visit I paid, all of them seemed to be in use. Although the hospital food was a hell of a lot better than what we get here, people were always bringing soups and other nourishing food from home.

    In contrast, after a surgery I had at one of our premier hospitals, and after which I had a hard time because of the anesthesia and slept for a couple of days, I was literally not eating or drinking. They would dump the food, come back to find it untouched and me sleeping, and take it away again. During one of my conscious periods I found they had messed up the dosage of my meds. My husband immediately hired a private duty nurse for the remainder of my stay. What if you can't afford that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    When I use the term extended family I mean closeness to parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc. Yes, with fewer children the numbers are smaller, but I think it's the quality of the relationship and geography as well.

    My father's cousin, for example, lives with her daughter in the bottom floor of a two story house. The grandson has the top floor of the house with his family. They built on the second floor to accommodate him and his family of two. The granddaughter was given a third of an acre of land and she and her husband built a house there on the family property. Two others of my father's cousins in that area did something very similar. Luckily they live very near to La Spezia, and within under an hour of other reasonably large towns, and they have good jobs there.

    Friendships are also very intense and long lasting. People remain life long friends with people with whom they went to primary school.

    Close social bonds like that do have an impact on health.

    As for health care, I don't know the statistics or what is measured by each organization. I can tell you that the deficiencies in care because of lower staffing in hospitals, for example, might be made up for by families and friends. When this cousin went to the hospital, family and friends took shifts so that she was almost literally never alone, and there was always someone there not just to monitor, but to get water, feed her, help with bedpans etc. The hospital I saw had what was like a recliner next to the bed so you could sleep there, and from the one visit I paid, all of them seemed to be in use. Although the hospital food was a hell of a lot better than what we get here, people were always bringing soups and other nourishing food from home.

    In contrast, after a surgery I had at one of our premier hospitals, and after which I had a hard time because of the anesthesia and slept for a couple of days, I was literally not eating or drinking. They would dump the food, come back to find it untouched and me sleeping, and take it away again. During one of my conscious periods I found they had messed up the dosage of my meds. My husband immediately hired a private duty nurse for the remainder of my stay. What if you can't afford that?
    During an overnight stay in the hospital in the US, I swear they were trying to kill me. Every two hours they would come, to take my BP. They already had me hooked up to all kinds of electrodes. I was ready to wedge a chair behind the door so that I could get a good night's sleep. I hope they are not as intrusive in European hospitals.

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    My father is 97 soon to be 98. He was born in 1922 during the exchange of population between Greece and Turkey. Food was scarce when he was growing up and then of course WWII happened, my family went to prison under the Germans and then the Geek Civil war between the communists and the center and right happened. There were not fat kids when I went to grade school. There 3-4 fat kids in middle and high schools and those had heart attacks in their 50s or early 60s. I can just imagine the death rate among the classmates of my kids. Lots of fat kids through high school. Yeah I don't think the lifespan will be as good.

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