Zebbuga (pronounced za-booch) or olives are one thing that this Mediterranean girl is never out of!
As a second-generation American, my roots run deep to the isle of Malta where my great grandparents were proud olive farmers (capers too). I love the taste, color, and versatility of this powerhouse ingredient. Whether it’s the oil in my homemade marinara, in salad dressing or a snack, we are without a doubt an olive household. My boys eat them by the handful. Packed with amazing health benefits, I would say this is one thing I am okay keeping in bulk.
As a therapeutic herb in traditional Chinese medicine, olives/oil is considered neutral in temperature meaning it is safe and useful no matter what time of the month or year you want to use it. The flavor is both sweet and sour. Sweet things support the Spleen and Sour supports the Liver. Often found in food therapy as a detoxifying ingredient, olive oil is safe to use any time. Though, if trying to conceive, this is not the time to try detoxing your system.
It can clear heat, remove toxicity, and moisten the skin and the intestines. It is an astringent, antiseptic, febrifugal (reduces fever), antioxidant, antiviral, neuroprotective, antidiabetic, antiparasitic, antifungal and antibacterial.
The key constituents in olive oil are polyphenols, flavonoids, and oleic acid which support our health by protecting the heart, fighting breast and colon cancer as well as benefitting the blood flow, supporting both morphologies, mobility of sperm and all reproductive function.
Because olive oil supports both the mobility and health of the sperm, it is imperative for males trying to conceive to have a diet high in olive oil. This will not only support the breakdown of fragmented sperm but decrease the inflammation thus improving the quality of the sperm overall. With natural conception or assisted, having the highest quality sperm is the goal this is an easy food to add to your diet.
Things to remember about oils in general if you are a damp type person-extra weight, mucus or sluggish digestion or candida it is best to take supplements omega3 and GLAs. For the very thin person with dry skin, you can actually take extra virgin olive oil as a supplement 1 tsp to 1 tbsp per day.
The biggest take-home message for olive oil is that there are 3 grades of the first pressing at lower temperatures without chemicals -which will maintain the highest healing property of oleic acid extra virgin 1%, second-grade fine virgin 1.5% and third-grade current virgin 3%. Avoid labels that read “pure” because they are often refined and only add a little bit of the virgin olive oil for flavor.
There are many preparations of olives out there whether they are chopped into tapenade, whole or cold-pressed oils all are considered a fantastic and essential ingredient to the Mediterranean diet. Research has shown women under the age of 35 who were non-obese less than 30 BMI- eating a balanced Mediterranean diet high in veggies, fruit, grains, fish, legumes and olive oil at least 6 months prior to trying to conceive via IVF, had a 50% higher chance of conception than those with the least adherence who had a 29% rate. Researchers also found that older women will also benefit from a healthy diet high in fresh fruit, veggies, and fish as well but due to changes in their hormones, the environmental factors such as diet are not as clearly seen as those under 35yrs old.
Men too were found to have improvements with the quality of the semen and thus the study concluded by stating both partners and those who are older, have a higher body mass index or trying to conceive naturally will also benefit from the Mediterranean-diet.
Single-ingredient, whole foods are the key to good health, adequate amounts of filtered water and this also includes moderate amounts of red wine (1 glass per day. Unless trying to conceive then I recommend abstaining from wine)
Supporting your fertility, health and happy stomach with Mediterranean cooking remember to eat slowly, enjoy the company you keep and get outside and enjoy a walk each day. Ciao!
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