If you’re concerned about whether you’re eating the “right” foods for your health and well-being, please give me five minutes right now – because I’m about to cut through all the hype and give you the lowdown on the one food, above all others, that should absolutely, positively be on your table every night.
As a cardiologist, certified nutrition specialist, and anti-aging expert with 40 years of experience, I’ve seen what makes people sick and what makes them well. And I’m here to tell you that Hippocrates was right when he said “Let food be thy medicine.”
But which foods? Every week, it seems, there’s an article about another new superfood. It can be hard to keep track of which ones are best, and which ones can be chalked up as the latest trend.
Well, the one I’m going to tell you about has been around for hundreds of years. It’s time tested – and increasingly, it’s being scientifically proven to be heads and shoulders above all the others.
It’s cold-pressed olive oil.
Why Cold-Pressed Olive Oil?
There’s so much to say about olive oil that I could write a book about it. But since I don’t have that kind of space here, let me just share two important facts…
- Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean Diet.
- The Mediterranean Diet is eaten by some of the longest-lived people in the world.
Now, let’s take a closer look at why these are important.
I’m willing to bet that you’ve seen the press around the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. Science has finally caught up with what I’ve been telling my patients and followers for years – not only is the Mediterranean Diet the healthiest diet for your heart, it’s the healthiest diet PERIOD. And since olive oil plays such a large role in Mediterranean cuisine, I believe it’s the “secret sauce” that makes the whole thing work.
A few years back, a research study called PREDIMED compared the heart health benefits of three diets: the Mediterranean Diet supplemented with extra olive oil, the Mediterranean Diet with extra nuts and seeds, and the low-fat diet recommended by the American Heart Association.
I’ll give you one guess as to which diet had the best results. That’s right, olive oil, hands down! In fact, the results were so overwhelming that the research team stopped the study early so all of the low-fat diet participants could switch to the Mediterranean Diet and reap the benefits of the heart healthy fat in olive oil.
Now, I’ve read a lot of research in my career, but this one really blew me away. Coupled with the results of another study which demonstrated olive oil’s potential to support healthy gene expression, it was one of those big “Aha!” moments. It was when I realized olive oil was special – a true healing food.
Extra, Extra! Discover Olive Oil Health Benefits!
The more I learned about olive oil, the more excited I got and the more I felt I needed to share the news – especially when additional studies started coming out, all reinforcing the PREDIMED findings. Olive oil was not only good for the heart, but also the brain and the whole body!
It didn’t take long for me to start telling anyone and everyone that they simply HAD to start consuming more olive oil. And by everyone, I mean everyone! Colleagues… my family … my patients… my newsletter readers… No one was exempt.
I upped my own consumption, too. Having grown up in an Italian family, olive oil was already a mainstay in my diet and a staple in my pantry. My father and grandfather taught me how to cook with it at an early age. But now it was more than a great-tasting family tradition. It was also a great way for me to nurture and support my health. Since the PREDIMED participants saw great results with 4 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil a day, I made that amount my new daily minimum goal. I even started measuring it and drinking it from a spoon – as if it were medicine! When you’re a cardiologist of Italian ancestry, it doesn’t get any better than that!
Then a couple of things happened…
Searching for the Best Olive Oils
As someone who’s acutely aware of the additives and impurities in our food these days, I had to ask myself, “What’s the best olive oil out there?”
After all, if I was going to take so much of it into my body, I wanted the cleanest, best-tasting, and most healthful product I could get my hands on. So I went to school on the subject. I learned all I could about olive oil production and the “tricks of the trade,” and I started sampling different oils – dozens upon dozens of them, to find the perfect blend of purity, taste, and freshness.
The second thing that happened was that all of the people I was encouraging to use more olive oil started asking me the same question: “Doc, what’s the best olive oil out there?”
As concerned as I was about myself, my search became even more important once it involved others. It’s always been crucial to me that people who trust my medical advice know they can trust my product recommendations – and I wanted to make sure I got this right. So I doubled down on my due diligence.
When I finally found what I thought was the best olive oil going, I traveled to California to see it made with my own eyes.
I wanted to see the olive trees and feel the soil beneath them. I wanted to breathe the air in the groves and feel the warm California sun. I wanted to meet the people who were growing the fruit and see the equipment used to press the oil.
My experience with the California grower was everything I hoped for. Not only was the farm pristine and beautiful, the oil was clean, pure, and made by an experienced group of people with a true passion
for the job. I knew they – and their oil – were the real deal when we sat on the patio and did a tasting. They specifically asked me to notice a peppery zing at the back of my throat. That zing comes from the phenols that naturally occur in olive oil…but ONLY in the freshest and purest ones.
It was exactly what I was looking for…
The Vervana Olive Oil Company Difference
I was so impressed by this particular oil, in fact, that I decided to sell it myself, and it became the first and best-selling product in my Vervana Marketplace. Since then, I’ve continued to source all my Vervana olive oils from family-owned and -operated farms in California. Here are just a few reasons why…
Cold-pressed extra virgin
There are different grades of olive oil, but at Vervana we specialize in extra virgin. “Extra virgin” means the olives are pressed just once to release the oil, and “cold pressed” means that process is done without applying any type of heat or chemicals to help extract or blend the oil. That’s vital because heat can ruin the nutritional value and alter the flavor. The less processed an oil is, the better it is for you. (Bonus: The health-related research around olive oil is based on extra virgin olive oil.)
Family farm-grown and produced
Hand-in-hand with being cold-pressed andvextra virgin, the olives for our oils are grown and harvested with purpose and care, then rushed to the press within hours of picking. In other words, my California olive oils are as fresh as possible and handled by people who take great personal pride in the product.
One of the most important things to me in finding the best olive oil was that it be “clean” – that is, no exposure to synthetic pesticides or other chemicals that we know can be damaging to your health. That’s why Vervana extra virgin olive oil is also certified organic, the gold-standard for purity by both the California Certified Organic Farmers and the USDA.
Made in the USA
There are other boutique vendors out there who like to tout the benefits of olive oil that comes straight from the Mediterranean itself. But I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to go halfway around the world or pay exorbitant prices to enjoy clean, healthy, great-tasting oil. (Trust me, I’ve done it.) The truth is that you only have to go as far as California. Plus, with olives grown here in the United States, we can ensure maximum freshness and minimum storage, shipping, and warehousing.
And while we’re on the topic of buying domestic products, I have to say, it feels good to offer oils that are made here in the USA –100 percent, from olive to bottle. I like supporting hard-working American farmers – especially ones that don’t use chemical pesticides.
There’s one more thing about certain California olive oils that separates them from the rest…the COOC Seal of certification.
Certified by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC)
A dirty little secret in the olive oil industry is that lots of it isn’t 100 percent olive oil at all, and is actually cut with lesser quality oils like canola or soybean oil. This is done to lower the cost – but what it really does is lower (or negate completely) any sort of health benefit that oil has.
Over the last decade, the University of California Davis decided to find out what’s really in the olive oil we get here in America. It put a large number of olive oils labeled “extra virgin” to the test, and detailed shocking inconsistencies in its reports. Most notably, of the five best-selling imported extra virgin olive oils, 73% failed sensory standards, 70% were mixed with oils other than olive oil, and 50% failed the freshness tests.
Now, if you’re like me, and you consume olive oil for its unique combination of powerful health benefits and delectable flavor, you want an olive oil that actually is what it says it is. With these reports, my confidence in imported olive oil dramatically waned. I was particularly distraught because I practically grew up on Italian olive oil.
Then I learned about a trade organization started by a group of California farmers who aspired to lead the olive oil industry with honesty and integrity – the California Olive Oil Council, or COOC. The COOC is dedicated to upholding the highest standards in the industry through its seal certification program. When an olive oil bears the COOC seal of certification, it is proof that the oil is, indeed, real extra virgin olive oil of the absolute highest quality.
To earn the COOC seal, an olive oil must undergo and pass a series of rigorous tests. The first test is a chemical analysis done by an independent third-party lab to determine that the olive oil contains nothing but pure, fresh-pressed 100 percent extra virgin olive oil. The COOC requires chemical testing thresholds that are among the most stringent in the world. For example, unlike most other certification agencies, the COOC requires chemical testing of both pyropheophytins (PPP) and 1,2- and 1,3-diacylglycerol (DAG). PPP count indicates the effects of heat, light and time on the oil, and DAG tests olive quality and the processing and age of the oil. Combined, these two tests are scientific proof that an extra virgin olive oil is not only among the purest available, but also the freshest.
But there’s more to the COOC seal than just chemical testing. Once the oil is proven to be fresh, pure, 100 percent extra virgin, it gets “taste-tested” by a panel of at least eight highly-trained olive oil experts. Through the sensory analysis test (also known as “organoleptic testing”), the COOC Taste Panel identifies and measures various attributes of the oil to make sure it is truly free of flavor defects.
The flavors that the panel looks for in an olive oil are fruity, bitter, and/or pungent (peppery). These are considered positive attributes. Fruitiness can encompass a wide variety of flavors spanning from green fruit descriptions like “green banana,” “herbaceous,” “grass,” and “artichoke,” to ripe fruit characterizations as “buttery,” “floral,” “nutty,” or “tropical.”
Because of California’s agricultural and environmental diversity, olive oil flavor profiles can vary immensely and may also include notes of “cherry,” “wood,” “black pepper” or “citrus.” This is especially the case with oils that are blends of different California olives.
While there’s nothing wrong with blends, I prefer single-varietal olive oils over blends because they have more localized, and thus rarer, flavor profiles. This is why my Vervana Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oils are each made with just one type of olive, grown with great pride on California farms that I’ve hand-picked for the extraordinary olive oil they produce.
Award-Winning Olive Oil
Speaking of extraordinary flavor, I kept getting such wonderful feedback about Vervana extra virgin olive oils, that I decided to enter our Black Label Organic Arbosana Extra Virgin Olive Oil into the prestigious New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC) this past May. To my delight, it won a Gold Award, and is now officially considered one of the best olive oils in the world!
We have since sold out of this small batch of Black Label olive oil at Vervana, but the newer batch is just as good, maybe even better! And although I have to wait a few months to find out what the NYIOOC judges think, I am looking forward to entering our Black Label and our Organic Koroneiki (“White Label”) Extra Virgin Olive Oil into the NYIOOC competition in 2020. Time will tell, but I think we’ll be seeing more awards!
One of the games that many olive oil manufacturers play is stamping a “use by” or “best by” date on the bottle. It’s their way of telling you how fresh oil is, but in fact it’s impossible to know just how old that product actually is. At Vervana, we tell you when the fruit was actually harvested so you know exactly how fresh your product is.
On our extra virgin olive oil labels, you’ll see the harvest year on the COOC seal. California olive oils are unique in that the olives are picked very late in the season – in November, after most crops have already been harvested. So if the year on the seal is 2018, it means that
the olives were harvested in November 2018, and the oil will stay fresh for about two years – until the end of 2020. Some people say olive oil will last three years if stored properly, but I like to use mine within two years for the absolute freshest flavor.
Olive Oils Cold-Pressed with 9 Incredible Flavors
As much as I love 100 percent extra virgin olive oil, I also like to mix things up and experiment with new flavors when I cook. That’s what led me to expand my olive oils to include crushed flavored oils, too.
These oils are essentially blends of California extra virgin oil and oil pressed from a number of fruits and herbs known for their own health benefits. That means more options for incorporating olive oil into your meals. I mean, who could possibly say no when your choices include extra virgin olive oil blended with fresh–
- Basil leaves
- Jalapeño peppers
- Garlic cloves
- Blood oranges
- Rosemary sprigs
- Jalapeño peppers AND garlic cloves
- Habanero peppers (FIERY HOT!)
Just like with our extra virgin olive oil, our flavored oils are produced in small batches, and undergo minimal processing in order to offer maximum purity. All the fresh olives, fruits and herbs are grown sustainably and without pesticides.
To minimize the use of heat (a common step in mass-produced flavored oils), the olives and fruits or herbs are cold-pressed together which allows for an instant fusion of nutrients and flavor. It’s a labor-intensive process known as the “crushed” or “fused” method, and you can really taste the difference – it’s night and day, when compared with ordinary flavored oil made the infused way of mixing olive oil with various flavor extracts.
The only catch is that technically we’re no longer allowed to call our flavored oils “extra virgin,” because we’ve added something besides olives to them. But rest assured – these oils are made with the same fresh olives and same time-honored processes as our extra virgin oils. And their flavor reflects all the time, work, and care that was put into them – try them and you’ll see!
Enjoy Your Own Bottle of Vervana Olive Oil Today
I’m sure there are some people among you who will say, “He’s just trying to sell you something.” I do want you to try these amazing oils – but this is my passion – it isn’t about profit. It’s about health, longevity, and loving life. And there’s no better path to those things than improving your diet with fresh, clean olive oil…not to mention the great-tasting healthier meals you can make with it!
But don’t take my word for it –check out what customers like you have said about Vervana Extra Virgin Olive Oils
Organic Extra Virgin Arbosana Black Label Olive Oil:
- “The very BEST olive oil I have ever tasted, bar none, and it’s organic too!” – Hubbard
- “One of the best olive oils I ever had. So delicious and worth every penny.” – scullyannette
- “Olive oil at its best.” – Charles
Organic Extra Virgin Koroneiki Olive Oil:
- “Best oil I ever had” – Annette
- “I drink this oil everyday.” – Elizabeth
- “Love it!” – Janis
- “Excellent” – Barbara
We Make Buying Cold-Pressed Olive Oil Easy
At Vervana, there aren’t any gimmicks. There’s just delicious, cold-pressed olive oil delivered straight to your door. You choose which ones you want, and we make sure you get them…whenever and wherever you choose. No muss, no fuss.
Just click here and select your oils. We’ll take care of the rest.
There’s Just One Catch
Because all Vervana oils are made from sustainably-grown olives from family-owned farms, it means the batches are small. So when we sell out for the season, we’re out! Don’t miss your opportunity to enjoy these great oils by waiting too long to order. Get yours today!The only thing left to do now, is to taste the Vervana difference. I’m confident you’ll love it as much as I do!
From my heart to yours,
P.S. I am so proud of my Vervana Olive Oils – they are smooth, buttery, and delicious – not to mention, healthy for you.