Book excerpt: Include this superfood in your diet to keep Alzheimer’s away
In her book Super Foods for Awesome Memory, chef Shipra Khanna shares a variety of recipes related to 16 foods that are excellent for strengthening memory. This excerpt is about the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil.Updated: Feb 16, 2018, 10:27 IST
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Remember This Oil, Forget Alzheimer’s
This is the oil extracted from the first press of olives and is the purest form of oil. It contains polyphenols which not only improve learning and memory, but also minimize the age and disease-related changes. The oil also fights against proteins that are toxic to the brain and that induce Alzheimer’s.
There are two varieties of olives—green and black. The extra virgin olive oil from the green grape is slightly lighter in taste than the olive oil from the black grape which gives a bitter aftertaste. Nonetheless, extra virgin olive oil, from both the green and the black grapes, is really good for the mind.
It is my favourite type of oil, especially in salads and pastas. The first press of olives gives us extra virgin olive oil and has a lot of flavour. It is also healthy since it doesn’t have to be cooked; it loses its properties and flavour when heated. The olive oil experience has been very interesting. I have visited olive oil farms in France and Spain to understand it better, and it will give me much pleasure to take you through these indulgences. I love the extra virgin olive oil that is extracted from black olives. It has an aftertaste which is bitter. The one from green olives doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste. You can use it in bread and tomatoes or in pesto. It tastes amazing and is very good for the skin too.
I met a gorgeous woman in Marseille who owned a farm and a store of varieties of olive oils, and it was enough to make a chef like me go crazy. I learnt a lot from her and got loads of bottles back home with me. Another important detail—using extra virgin olive oil in pastas helps in easy digestion.
Nowadays you get a variety of olive oils, for example, the infused olive oils. I find it a very interesting concept— olive oil with basil, with rosemary, chilli and my favourite, garlic infused extra virgin olive oil! Isn’t it fascinating? These types of olive oils are meant to be kept on the table to be added as per choice, and they go very well with Italian cuisine!
Having a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil in the morning helps your stomach and keeps your skin beautiful. Well, you can try it, make your own opinion about it and share it with me! Extra virgin olive oil with black olives is my favourite. Though now there are many countries producing olive oil, my favourite still remains the ones from Spain.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Recipes
STRAWBERRY AND WALNUT SALAD
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
5–6 leaves of iceberg lettuce, washed
3½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
½–1 tsp whole black peppercorns, crushed
6–7 walnuts, broken
¼ cup feta cheese
In a bowl, add lettuce, strawberries and walnuts. In another bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice and pepper to make the dressing. Drizzle over the salad and add feta cheese on top. Serve immediately.
OLIVE OIL BREAD
15 g fresh yeast
500 g flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
In a mixing bowl, add the flour, salt and sugar. Mix and then make a well in the centre of the flour and add yeast, warm water (approx 100 ml) and olive oil.
Mix quickly with your hands or a wooden spoon to make a soft and sticky dough. Wipe the dough around the bowl to pick up any loose flour.
Sprinkle the work surface with flour. Knead by stretching it away from yourself with your hand, then folding it towards yourself and pushing it away, and repeat the process.
When the dough is smooth, put it back into the mixing bowl, cover with a towel and leave to rest for 1 hour or till it doubles in size.
Knead the dough and shape it into a ball. Place it on an oiled baking sheet and lightly cut on top with a sharp knife. Cover for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 220°C and bake for 30–35 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Excerpted with permission from Super Foods for Awesome Memory by Shipra Khanna, Rupa Books, 2018.
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