Olive leaf drink proven to lower blood pressure

The results of a new research review highlighted by OVIVO, a new antioxidant, Organic Olive Leaf Infusion drink, has revealed that the olive leaf has even higher levels of healthy antioxidants than previously thought.

The new paper reveals the health benefits of the plant compound hydroxytyrosol — one of the most powerful naturally occurring antioxidants known to man. Hydroxytyrosol is found in olives and olive oil, but the highest concentrations occur in the leaf. This is also true of oleuropein, another potent plant compound which also has proven antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammation activity.

Although most olive leaf extracts are standardised to ensure a set level of oleuropein, only one — OVIVO Organic Olive Leaf Infusion with Calendula — works to deliver a dose of hydroxytyrosol.

OVIVO Organic Olive Leaf Infusion also has up to 30 beneficial plant compounds and phytochemicals found in the Mediterranean diet in one handy, concentrated dose.

The research was reviewed on behalf of OVIVO by Dr Pamela Mason, an expert nutritionist and chair of the Government’s Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (an advisory committee which reviews foodstuffs such foods that are specially formulated for people with medical conditions), who suggests the dynamic duo of hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein may hold the key to many of the health benefits associated with olives and the Mediterranean diet.

A double-blind study found a twice-a-day 500mg dose of olive extract was as effective as an ACE inhibitor at reducing both diastolic and systolic blood pressure, but unlike the prescription-only blood pressure pill, the extract also significantly lowered levels of dangerous triglicerides.

A trial investigating the impact of olive leaf extract on blood sugar control reported a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity after just 12 weeks, while a study in patients with type 2 diabetes found the extract improved insulin levels and reduced HbA1c, a marker associated with a greater risk of diabetes-related complications.
OVIVO Organic
Nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire agrees: “The study highlights the advantages olive leaf extract can bring to our health and wellbeing when introduced to our diet. We’ve known about the health benefits of olive oil for a long time but this new research confirms the importance of hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein and their power as an antioxidant.

“EFSA has ruled that olive products must provide a minimum of 5mg of hydroxytyrosol a day to show antioxidant activity and qualify to carry health claims relating to cholesterol benefits, but the Authority warns that some olive oils may be too low in the antioxidant to reach this target.

“The great news is that a 70ml dose of OVIVO Organic Olive Leaf Infusion, an olive leaf extract combined with soothing calendula, provides at least twice this amount — as a readily absorbed drink, for maximum bioavailability.”

OVIVO Co-Founder, Susan White said: “We are so convinced of the health-boosting properties of OVIVO that we are on a mission to spread the word far and wide about this natural route to wellness. We are proud to be supporting on-going research into the compounds of the olive leaf in order to find new ways to extract its natural goodness.”

OVIVO Organic Olive Leaf Infusion delivers hydroxytyrosol — one of nature’s most potent antioxidants — and up to 30 beneficial plant compounds and phytochemicals found in the Mediterranean diet in one handy, concentrated dose.

The no-fuss infusion is made from 100 per cent organic ingredients including freshly picked olive leaves (from Italy), soothing calendula, grape and lemon juice and spring water. All ingredients are non-GM and pesticide free.

Each 500ml bottle delivers seven days of natural wellness in 70ml shots, and because there is no added sugar and only a trace of fat, each dose contains a mere 13kcal.

OVIVO Organic Olive Leaf Infusion can be drunk neat, or mixed with fruit juice of smoothies. For something more sophisticated try mixing four shots of OVIVO with 100ml of elderflower cordial, 700ml of sparkling water and crushed ice. Serve with mint leaves and wedges of lime for a delicious aperitif bursting with antioxidant action.

OVIVO Organic Olive Leaf Infusion is the brainchild of British couple Dom and Susan White who have lived in Italy for 15 years and have two children who were born there. They founded the business in 2011 after hearing stories about the remarkable health benefits of olive leaf infusions and years of experimentation to perfect their infusion process.

They are now on a mission to spread the word about this natural way to wellness and fund further research into the potent plant compounds and phytonutrients which give olive leaf extracts an edge over other antioxidants.

OVIVO Organic Olive Leaf Infusion costs £13.99 for seven doses and is available from selected Boots stores, Wholefoods, Holland & Barrett and independent health stores in the UK and Ireland.

Fruit Kebabs with Chocolate Sauce

Fruit Kebabs with Chocolate Sauce


FB-Fruit-Kebabs-w-Chocolate-Sauce_p [640x480].jpgServes 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5-7 minutes

Selection of seasonal fruit
eg: pineapple, nectarines or peaches, strawberries or kiwi fruit,
2 tbsp Filippo Berio Mild & Light Olive Oil
2 tbsp caster sugar
Chocolate Sauce:
3 tbsp Filippo Berio Mild & Light Olive Oil
75g/3oz dark chocolate
3 tsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp maple syrup

1. To make the chocolate sauce, put all the ingredients into a small saucepan, heat gently, stirring until the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth.
2. Remove the core from the peeled pineapple and cut the flesh into chunks. Halve the nectarines or peaches, remove the stones and cut into thick slices. Cut the kiwi fruit into quarters.
3. Thread the fruit onto skewers, brush with olive oil and dust with caster sugar. Place on a medium hot barbecue, cook for 5-7 minutes, turning to grill all over.
4. Serve with the chocolate sauce.
Fruity Ideas:
Pineapple slices: Dry fresh slices of pineapple on kitchen paper. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with caster sugar, then caramelise on the barbecue.
Bananas: select firm bananas and barbecue in the skins until charred and soft to the touch. Offer rum to pour over the peeled bananas and a bowl of the chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Mouse

Chocolate Mousse


FB-Chocolate-Mousse-LR_w [640x480].jpgServes 6-8
Preparation: 20 minutes

175g/6oz good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
3 large free range eggs, separated
100g/3oz golden caster sugar
3 tbsp very strong coffee, e.g. espresso
1-2 tbsp brandy (depending on taste)
100ml/7 tbsp  Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Break the  chocolate into a bowl, place over a small pan of simmering water and allow to melt. Remove the bowl from the pan and let it cool to lukewarm.
2. Meanwhile put the egg yolks and sugar into a large bowl and whisk until thick and
pale in colour. Whisk in the coffee, brandy and olive oil, then gradually fold in the melted chocolate.
3. Whisk the egg white until almost stiff, quickly fold in a large tablespoon to the
chocolate mixture until smooth, then add the rest of the egg white and lightly fold in, trying not to beat out the air.
4. Pour the mixture into 8 small china dishes or 6 large shot glasses and place in the
refrigerator until set.
5. Serve cold with fresh berries.

Cook’s tip:

Sprinkle some extra grated chocolate or flakes of chocolate over the top of each mousse, for an extra touch of luxury.

Sea Bass with Lemon and Dill

Sea Bass with Lemon and Dill
(barbecue recipe)



FB-Sea-Bass-w-Lemon-Dill-HR_p [640x480].jpgPreparation time: 10 minutes + marinating time
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Serves 4

2 medium sea bass, cleaned and descaled
6 tbsp Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 lemon sliced
Handful of fresh dill sprigs


1. Use a sharp knife to cut slashes in the fish skin. Mix the oil, lemon juice and half the dill together in a shallow non-metallic dish. Push the lemon slices and remaining dill inside the fish cavity. Place the fish in the marinade and spoon the juices all over and inside the fish. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours in the fridge, turning the fish at least once.
2. To barbecue, lift the fish from the marinade and place on a large piece of foil, fold over the foil and scrunch the edges to seal and make a tight parcel. Cook the fish over hot barbecue coals for 15-20 mins, turning once until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Crispy Salmon with Marinated Crudités

Crispy Salmon with  Marinated Crudités


FB-Salmon-w-Marinated-Crudites_p [640x480].jpgServes 4
Preparation time
: 10-15 minutes + 1 hour marinating
Cooking time: 4-6 minutes

100g/4oz fennel
100g/4oz tomatoes
100g/4oz celery
100g/4oz salad onions, trimmed
50g/2oz flat leaf parsley
100g/4oz carrots, peeled
100g/4oz red radishes
50ml/3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 2 lemons
4 salmon steaks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To garnish:
Lemon wedges
Sprigs of dill

1. Thinly slice the vegetables and chop up the herbs. Place them into a large bowl with 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning. Allow to marinate for 1 hour.
2. Heat the remaining olive oil and pan-fry the salmon steaks on high heat for about 2-6 minutes each side or until crispy brown.
3. Put the salmon onto 4 hot serving plates served with the marinated vegetables.
4. Garnish with lemon wedges and sprigs of dill.

Cook’s Tip:
Replace the salmon with cod steaks or other seasonal fish.

Mediterranean Tuna with Tomato and Olive Sauce

Mediterranean Tuna with Tomato and Olive Sauce


Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 6-8 minutes

4 tuna steaks
2 tbsp Filippo Berio Olive Oil
1 tbsp lemon juice

12 black olives, pitted
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
8 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned

1. Put the tuna steaks into a shallow dish, mix the olive oil and lemon juice together with a little seasoning, pour over the steaks and leave to marinate for 15 minutes while making the sauce.
2. Put all the ingredients for the sauce into a blender or food processor and blend together, transfer to a pan and heat gently.
3. Place the tuna on a pre-heated barbecue, hot enough to sear the fish for
3 minutes until the fish begins to mark.  Use a large fish slice to turn the steak and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, until well marked, his will depend on the thickness of the steaks.
4. Serve with the warm tomato and olive sauce.

Linguini with Crab

Linguine with Crab
(Linguine alla Polpa di Granchio)



FB-Linguine-with-Crab [640x480].jpgPreparation:  5 mins
Cooking: 10-15 mins
Serves 4

450g linguine
5 tbsp Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 red chillies, deseeded and sliced
6tbsp dry white wine
1 (170g) can white crabmeat, drained and juices reserved
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water for 10 mins or according to packet instructions.
2. Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the garlic and chillies for 2 mins. Add the white wine and reserved crab juices to the pan and simmer for 2 mins or until reduced by half. Add the crabmeat and parsley to the pan and cook for 1 min or until hot. Season to taste
3. Drain the pasta and add the crab mixture, toss together. Drizzle over the remaining oil. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Griddled Chicken with Conchiglie, Rocket and Asparagus

Griddled Chicken with Conchiglie, Rocket and Asparagus


FB-Griddled-Chicken-w-Conchiglie-LR_p [640x480].jpg 

Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

225g (8oz) conchiglie (shell shaped) pasta
250g bundle of asparagus
4 tbsp Filippo Berio Olive Oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 skinless chicken breasts
50g packet rocket
120g sunblush tomatoes
40g (1 1/2oz) pine kernels, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water for 10 minutes. Trim the woody ends off the asparagus and cut into 5 cm (2″) lengths, place in a steamer, place over the boiling pan of pasta and cook for 5 minutes until tender crisp. Remove and set to one side while continuing to cook the pasta.
2. Meanwhile, heat the griddle pan or heavy frying pan, brush the chicken portions with a little of the oil then place on the griddle pan and cook over a medium high heat for about five minutes on each side or until cooked (the juices should run clear when a skewer is inserted in the centre of the breast). While the chicken is cooking, put the remaining oil in a bowl with the vinegar and mustard, season with salt and pepper and whisk together.
3. When the pasta is cooked, drain well then return to the pan. Roughly chop the rocket and add to the pasta with the asparagus, tomatoes and pine kernels, add the dressing and mix well to combine. Divide between 4 warmed  plates and top with the chicken breast.
For a vegetarian alternative, replace the chicken breast with cubes of mozzarella.


Kick-start your New Year diet – win a luxury Marruchetone olive oil duo


London: Elixir has joined with Wine & Food Promotions to offer six readers the chance to win one of Marruchetone Extra Virgin olive oil’s special gift packs.

Each set is worth £25 and contains two bottles of oil – one 250 ml bottle of Armonia type oil which is mellow and made from the Fantuio olive and a 250 ml bottle of Brio from the Leccino which produces a more intense flavour.

This is a very special and unique olive oil pressed from olives grown on the Fattoria Varramista, a farm on the estate of one of the favourite homes of the Agnelli family, near the village of Capalbio, Maremma, Tuscany and was pressed after the autumn 2009 harvest. It is extra virgin and grown organically.

It is suggested that the Armonia (mellow tasting) is used for Vegetables, fish, soups, meats, pastas (just a drop) and the Brio (intense) for salads, on carpaccio and meats. Or why not try dipping some rustic bread into the oil to taste all the wonderful flavours?

Medical experts agree that olive oil is one of the healthiest oils, complementing and enhancing the beneficial nutrients in the vegetables and other ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet. So why not kick off your New Year health resolutions by sampling this wonderful and unique oil?

If you would like to win one of these olive oil gift packs please email us with your name, address (please put Oil in the email header) to readeroffer@elixirnews.com and answer the following question:

Which part of Italy does Marruchetone olive oil come from?
1. Venice
2. Tuscany
3. Sicily

Please note that this competition closes on 25 January 2009. No cash equivalent is offered and the Editor’s decision is final.

To enquire about this product, including a special case of six which costs £120 go to

Enquiries to antonio@winefoodpromotions.com

Technical details:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil first pressing 2009;
Single estate;
Region: Tuscany, Maremma, Capalbio;
Picked and pressed within the estate;
Olive variety: Frantoio;
Acidity: 0.14
Color: Intense green;
Flavor: Fruity
Box dimension: cm 20-15-7
Price GBP 25.00 per box, pp included;
Price for case of 6: GBP 120.00, pp included.

Competition Start Page – The only competition start page you will ever need, find competitions in the UK.

Mediterrean diet cuts diabetes risk


Madrid: A Mediterranean diet that includes fruit, vegetables, fibre and healthier fats may protect against type two diabetes, a new study suggests.

The study monitored the eating habits of 14,000 Spaniards over a four year period to see who developed the condition.

The results indicated a 83% lower risk for those who followed the diet, the British Medical Journal reported.

The traditional lifestyle of the Mediterrean includes regular exercise, but also plenty of fish, fruit and vegetables, usually cooked in olive oil, and red wine.

This diet has already been shown to be good for heart health. In addition olive oil helps control blood sugar and lower blood pressure.


Win an olive tree and take the Med diet challenge with free recipes


London: As the autumn days get shorter and darker, the prospect of living in sunnier pastures becomes all the more enticing. Whilst the majority of Brits go on holiday more than their parents did in their day, this is not enough for nearly two thirds of the population who dream of settling abroad.

Increasing numbers of Brits are opting for sunnier pastures with the majority tempted by a more relaxed and healthy lifestyle, according to a new survey by Italian food specialist Bertolli.

In the non-stop world of the 21st century, we are bombarded with new ways to stay healthy but sometimes they just seem to make life more complicated. It is unsurprising then that the most popular destination for those wishing to relocate was Italy. Why worry, when you could just sit back, relax and be inspired by the common sense of the traditional Mediterranean diet – a huge 95% of those asked agree that it’s healthier than the British diet after all.

We may not all be culinary experts yet 62% of us try to incorporate ingredients from foreign holidays into our everyday diet. However, 81% also agree that they’re never quite able to replicate the food we’ve had on holiday! Italian dishes such as risotto and pasta were the most popular for those trying their hand at foreign cuisine.

As well as fruit, vegetables, grains, and fresh fish, olive oil is an essential component of Italian cuisine – the olive tree is so full of goodness, its oil has been part of the traditional Mediterranean diet for thousands of years. Even though us Brits might not be able to enjoy every aspect of the Mediterranean lifestyle, you can enjoy a touch of olive oil in your diet with ease.

To win a beautiful olive tree for your own home, (UK residents only) simply email your answer the following question to readeroffer@elixirnews.com

Q What is Bertolli spread made from?
A. sunflower oil
B. olive oil
C. sesame seed oil

Rules: The prize: 1 beautiful olive tree (worth £50) – there is no cash equivalent available. The Editor’s decision is final. Competition closes 30 September 2007. The emails will be entered into a draw.

For more information visit www.bertolli.com

Healthy Mediterranean Recipes by Diane Seed
­Scallops Adriatic style­ (Capesante alla Adriatica)

Along the Adriatic coast that are small, tasty scallops cooked very simply so that their good flavour is not masked by other ingredients.

18 scallops 3 T freshly chopped parsley

2 cloves garlic 3 T extra virgin olive oil

2 T bread crumbs salt & black pepper

1 lemon

Heat the oven to 180 C. Heat the oil and gently fry the finely chopped garlic. When it begins to turn colour remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. If the scallops are large cut in half, if not leave whole and allow 3 per serving. Arrange on a shell, season and spoon on a little garlic mixture, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Put them in the hot oven until they are golden brown. Remove and serve immediately.

Ricotta fritters (Frittelle di ricotta)

A very delicious, easy sweet dish from Basilicata

500 g ricotta cheese

4 eggs 1 T grated lemon and orange rind

4 T sugar 2 T brandy or fruit liqueur

4 T flour olive oil for deep frying

sugar for dusting

Leave the ricotta to drain for at least an hour. Then stir in the eggs, sugar, and other ingredients. Beat well to make sure you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Heat the oil and drop in a few tablespoons of mixture to form fritters, flattening them with a slotted spoon as they start to rise. Fry in batches, putting to drain on kitchen paper when they are golden brown. Dust with sugar and serve at once.

Linguine with tuna, lemon and rocket (Linguine al tonno,limone e rughetta)

Over the years this has gradually become one of my favourite pasta dishes, and we eat it all through the year. In Rome we can buy small bunches of wild rocket that has a pungent flavour, much stronger than cultivated rocket. Although the “ventresca” is usually considered the “best” cut of tuna, I find it easier to stir in the smaller flakes to get a more even distribution through the pasta. Therfore I use a cheaper cut, but for the flavour it is important to use tuna preserved in olive oil.

400 g linguine

200 g can tuna in olive oil

1 cup fresh rocket leaves, roughly chopped

juice of 2 lemons

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 dry red chilli, crushed

3 T extra virgin olive oil


Heat the oil and gently cook the garlic and chilli pepper. As the garlic begins to change colour add the drained, flaked tuna and stir around the pan. Keep warm. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, drain when still slightly hard and stir into the tuna mixture. Squeeze over the lemon juice and stir in the rocket. Using a wooden spoon lift up the pasta and really keep turning it over so that the rocket wilts and the tuna is evenly distributed and not left at the bottom of the pan. Serve at once.

Olive oil increases longevity, says Danish report

Copenhagen: Four teaspoons of olive oil a day can help protect against cancer, says a new report by researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital.

In a study of 182 European men, levels of 8-oxodG, which reflects cell damage, was measured in urine. Men whose diet included 25 militres (0.9 fluid oz) of olive oil, had 13 per cent less of the substance.

The Danish team said it could explain why many cancer rates are higher in northern Europe than in the south, where olive oil is a major part of the diet.

Dr Henrik E Poulsen, of Rigshospitalet, Denmark, who led the study, said: “Every piece of evidence so far points to olive oil being a healthy food. By the way, it also tastes great.”

Life expectancy and levels of obesity and other diseases of ageing are lower in Mediterranean countries. The diet which is rich in olive oil, fruits and vegetables is credited with promoting good health.

Secret of olive oil is anti-ageing

Rome: New research has pinned down why extra-virgin olive oil, a staple of Italian cuisine, helps the nation’s inhabitants avoid tumours and other diseases in their later years.

The results of a nine-year study of Italians living in the olive-rich southern region of Puglia showed recently that they were statistically less prone to cancer and other ailments because they consumed the oil all their lives .

Now researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia have discovered precisely why this is the case .

They have identified in extra-virgin olive oil a molecule which is similar to ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory agent contained in several over-the-counter painkillers .

They believe that the molecule, which they have called ‘oleocantale’, is the key element which gives olive oil its legendary properties .

If assimilated over a long period of time, it can mean a person is protected from tumours and other problems that regularly crop up when a person becomes old, they say .

The research, which finally offers scientific support for what doctors and nutritionists have said for years, appears in the September edition of the journal Nature .

The discovery comes just five months after scientists at Bari University’s Geriatrics Department offered convincing statistical evidence that olive oil is a real ‘elixir of life’ .

Unveiling a nine-year study of over 700 people in Puglia aged 65-84, they said extra-virgin olive oil clearly has a string of health benefits such as its ability to combat chronic diseases and, above all, guard against tumours .

The survey aimed to assess the role of diet, and in particular intake of monosaturated and polysaturated fatty acids, on ageing and death .

The 704 Puglians ate a typical Mediterranean diet in which fat (17.6% monosaturated fatty acids, 3% polysaturated and 8.4% saturated) accounted for 29% of total energy intake .

Extra-virgin olive oil provided 85% of the monosaturated fatty acids .

The latter were associated with reduced mortality, for all causes, the study said. In particular, 15 grammes a day of monosaturated fatty acids cut deaths among over-65s by a fifth .

“This is proof that not only is olive oil a healthy food product but a splash of it a day helps prevent tumours,” said Professor Giorgio Calabrese of the National Authority for Food Safety .

An Athens University study also showed recently that the mortality rate among the elderly was significantly lower in Mediterranean countries like Greece, Spain and Italy .

Nutritionist Antonio Migliaccio commented: “Extra-virgin olive oil has great anti-oxidant powers and is therefore recommended in low-calory diets. It also increases so-called good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol.”