Friday, December 31, 2010

More evidence olive oil and veggies help the heart!

This is from Yahoo Health:

It's no secret that eating well is good for both body and mind, so it may not come as a surprise that a new study finds women who eat more olive oil and leafy vegetables such as salads and cooked spinach are significantly less likely to develop heart disease.

A group of Italian researchers found that women who ate at least 1 serving of leafy vegetables per day were more than 40 percent less likely to develop heart disease over an average of eight years, relative to women who ate two or fewer portions of those vegetables each week.

Women who downed at least 3 tablespoons of olive oil daily - such as in salad dressing - were also 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease, compared to women who ate the least olive oil.

It's not exactly clear why specifically leafy vegetables and olive oil may protect the heart, study author Dr. Domenico Palli of the Cancer Research and Prevention Institute in Florence told Reuters Health. "Probably the mechanisms responsible for the protective effect of plant-origin foods on cardiovascular diseases involve micronutrients such as folate, antioxidant vitamins and potassium, all present in green leafy vegetables."

Folate reduces blood levels of homocysteine, Palli explained, which is thought to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by damaging the inner lining of arteries. Other studies have shown people who eat more potassium have lower blood pressure, which can protect the cardiovascular system. Virgin olive oil may be particularly effective at lowering heart disease risk because of its high level of antioxidant plant compounds, he added.

This is not the first study to link olive oil or vegetables to good heart health. Most famously, the traditional Mediterranean diet -- rich in vegetables and monounsaturated fats from olive oil and nuts, but low in saturated fat from meat and dairy -- has been tied to a decreased risk of heart disease.

Mediterranean-style eating has also been credited with lowering risk for some cancers, diabetes, and, more recently, with slowing brain aging (See Reuters Health story of December 29, 2010).

Cardiovascular disease is a major killer, responsible for 30 percent of all deaths worldwide and the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.

To look more closely at the role of foods in protecting against heart disease, Palli and colleagues reviewed dietary information collected from nearly 30,000 Italian women participating in a large national health study. Researchers followed the women, whose mean age was 50 at the beginning of the study, for an average of 8 years, noting who developed heart disease.

In that time, the women experienced 144 major heart disease-related events, such as heart attack or bypass surgery, the authors report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Women who ate at least one daily serving (about two ounces) of leafy vegetables - such as raw lettuce or endives, or cooked vegetables like spinach or chard -- had a 46 percent lower risk of developing heart disease than women who ate at most two portions per week.

Consuming at least an ounce of olive oil per day lowered their risk by 44 percent relative to women who consumed a half-ounce or less daily, the authors found.

The women's intake of other types of vegetables, such as roots and cabbages, and their consumption of tomatoes or fruit did not seem to be linked to their risk for major heart events.

Both fruits and vegetables have been associated with heart benefits in past studies conducted elsewhere in Europe and in North America. The authors caution that the apparent lack of positive effect from high fruit consumption in their results may have something to do with a different attitude toward fruit in Italy. It is cheap, varied and easily available, so eating a lot of fruit is a widespread habit but it does not necessarily signal that the rest of someone's diet is as healthy, the authors wrote.

Another issue with the study, Palli noted in an e-mail, is that women had to report how much they ate of various items, and some may not have remembered their diets accurately, or may have changed their eating habits during the study period. In addition, people sometimes over-estimate their healthy behaviors, believing they eat healthier than they really do.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published online December 22, 2010.
Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

New Years resolutions are hard.  Many people start the New Year off with a large list only to get frustrated and give up after a couple of weeks. Try to pick ONE instead of a long list. You will be more successful if you pick a specific goal and share this goal with friends and family for support. We found this great article on Huffington's Post website about the top resolutions to keep.

Here is a condensed version of their list:
1. Lose Weight - Pick a goal weight that is realistic. "Beware of the valley of quickie cures." Also, plan for bumps in the road. Use a food journal to keep track of what you eat and have a support system in place. "Around week four to six...people become excuse mills," Dr. Peeke says. "That’s why it’s important to have someone there on a regular basis to get you through those rough times."

2. Stay in Touch - In a technology-fixated era, it’s never been easier to stay in touch -- or rejuvenate your relationship -- with friends and family, so fire up Facebook and follow up with in-person visits.

3. Quit Smoking - Fear that you’ve failed too many times to try again? Talk to any ex-smoker, and you’ll see that multiple attempts are often the path to success. Try different methods to find out what works. And think of the cash you’ll save! (We know you know the enormous health benefits.)

4. Save Money - Cut back on gym membership costs by exercising at home. Many fitness programs on videogame systems like Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox Kinect can get you sweating. Take stock of what you have in the fridge and make a grocery list. Aimless supermarket shopping can lead to poor choices for your diet and wallet.

5.Cut Your Stress - Long work hours, little sleep, no exercise, poor diet, and not spending time with family and friends can contribute to stress, says Roberta Lee, M.D., an integrative medicine specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York City, and the author of "The Super Stress Solution". "Stress is an inevitable part of life," she says. "Relaxation, sleep, socializing, and taking vacations are all things we tell ourselves we deserve but don't allow ourselves to have." 

6.Travel - The joys and rewards of vacations can last long after the suitcase is put away. "We can often get stuck in a rut, and we can't get out of our own way," Kanaris says. "Everything becomes familiar and too routine." But traveling allows us to tap into life as an adventure, and we can make changes in our lives without having to do anything too bold or dramatic. "It makes you feel rejuvenated and replenished," Kanaris adds. "It gets you out of your typical scenery, and the effects are revitalizing. It's another form of new discovery and learning, and great for the body and the soul."

7.Volunteer - We tend to think that we can make ourselves happy by doing things for ourselves, but we are happier when we are doing things for others, like through volunteer work, says Peter Kanaris, Ph.D, coordinator of public education for the New York State Psychological Association. And guess what? Happiness is good for your health.

8.Go Back to School - No matter how old you are, heading back to the classroom can have a range of benefits. Getting a degree or just taking a few courses can help revamp your career, introduce you to new friends, and even boost your brainpower. A 2007 study found that middle-age adults who had gone back to school (including night school) sometime in the previous quarter century had stronger memories and verbal skills than those who did not.

9.Cut Back on Alcohol - While much has been written about the health benefits of a small amount of alcohol, too much tippling is still the bigger problem. (In fact, binge drinking seems to be on the rise.) Drinking alcohol in excess affects the brain's neurotransmitters and can increase the risk of depression, memory loss, or even seizures.

10.Get More Sleep - You probably already know that a good night's rest can do wonders for your mood -- and appearance. But sleep is more beneficial to your health than you might realize. A lack of sleep has been linked to a greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. And sleep is crucial for strengthening memories (a process called consolidation). So take a nap -- and don't feel guilty about it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eat This Not That!

Two products of Star Fine Foods were featured in David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding's, Eat This Not That, Supermarket Survival Guide.  To check out the Eat This Not That website click here.

The two products are:
Star Balsamic Vinegar of Modena:
5 calories
0g of Fat
0mg sodium

Star Spanish Olives:
15 calories
1g Fat
280 mg sodium
Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Roast Cooking and Carving

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

STAR Olive Bruscetta

1 baguette, sliced 1/2 inch thick
6-8 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 (7 oz.) jar STAR Spanish Olives, drained and sliced
1 cup diced tomatoes, seeded
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 Tbs. STAR Capers, drained
3 Tbs. STAR Balsamic Vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Lightly toast baguette slices on both sides in broiler. While still hot, rub with garlic cloves, and then brush lightly with some of the olive oil. In bowl, combine olives, tomatoes, onion, capers, vinegar, and remaining olive oil and toss. Season with pepper. Spoon mixture on top of bread slices and serve.

Serves 6
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Baking with Olive Oil

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Usage Tips from STAR

•    Drizzle STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil over creamed soups to add flavor and a sophisticated look. If desired, blend first with chopped fresh herbs and salt and pepper.

•    Brush STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil over brown-and-serve rolls or bread sticks before baking for a deeper, richer color and added flavor.

•    Baste turkey with STAR Originale Olive Oil instead of melted butter.

•    Pour STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the middle of your mashed potatoes instead of butter for a delicious alternative.

•    Cut off top third of whole garlic heads. Place each remaining head on foil square and drizzle with 1 tablespoon STAR Originale Olive Oil per head. Fold foil to enclose. Place on baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until very soft. Squeeze pulp out and mash, adding chopped fresh herbs, if desired. Use to spread on rolls instead of butter.

•    Substitute STAR Extra Light Olive Oil for other fats when mixing pie crusts, cakes or other baked goods.

•    Mix STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar with chopped fresh herbs and/or garlic and serve as dipping sauce for bread or lightly steamed vegetables.

•    Add flavor to gravies by using STAR Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar instead of salt.

•    Add a splash of STAR Seasoned Rice Vinegar to green vegetables or carrots just before serving instead of salt.

•    Add ¼ cup STAR Balsamic Vinegar to liquid when poaching fruits in sugar syrup.

•    Blend 1 tablespoon STAR Balsamic or Raspberry Vinegar with 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Drizzle over orange sections, canned pears or peaches or berries.

•    Make a dipping sauce for green onions, radishes and carrot and celery sticks with STAR Seasoned Rice Vinegar and a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil seasoned with soy sauce, chopped fresh garlic and ginger. Add red pepper flakes for a spicy version.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Cooking?


Cook healthier for you and your families using our olive oil conversion chart.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pasta With Tomatoes, Capers, Olives and Breadcrumbs

By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN NYTimes Published: December 6, 2010

Bread crumbs, crisped in olive oil with garlic, make a flavorful addition to just about any pasta. Make your own bread crumbs if you’ve got bread that’s drying out, and keep them in the freezer.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, 2 sliced, 1 minced
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup green or black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped (2 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound spaghetti, preferably a good whole-wheat brand
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

1. Begin heating a large pot of water for the pasta. Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the sliced garlic over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan or skillet. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic turns golden, about two minutes. Do not let it take on any more color than this. Remove the garlic slices with a slotted spoon and discard, then add the bread crumbs to the pan. Turn the heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until the bread crumbs are crisp. Remove from the heat, and set aside.

2. Return the pan to medium heat, and add the remaining olive oil, the red pepper flakes and the minced garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds until the garlic smells fragrant, and add the tomatoes, capers and olives. Bring to a simmer, and simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down and smell fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the spaghetti. Cook al dente, following the cooking recommendations on the package but checking about a minute before the suggested time. Drain, and toss with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and parsley on top, toss again briefly and serve, passing the Parmesan at the table.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: You can make the recipe through Step 2 several hours before cooking the pasta. The bread crumbs will keep for a couple of weeks in the freezer. Reheat and crisp in a dry pan over medium heat. The tomato sauce will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.

Nutritional information per serving: 450 calories; 14 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 70 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams dietary fiber; 718 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 12 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of "The Very Best of Recipes for Health."
Saturday, December 4, 2010

Star Olive Oil Uses

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Potato Latkes Recipe- Extra Light Olive Oil is perfect for frying!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Olive oil protects the liver from oxidative stress

This is from an article written  by
One of hottest areas of current scientific research involves one of the tastiest ingredients of Mediterranean-style dishes -- olive oil. Evidence has been steadily mounting that olive oil protects and builds health in a variety of ways. Not only does it help prevent depression and fight inflammation (, but phytonutrients in olive oil have been found to be effective against breast cancer cells, too (

Could the news about olive oil get any better? It just did. Now scientists have discovered extra virgin olive oil can protect the liver from oxidative stress -- the physiological stress on the body caused by free radical damage. Oxidative stress is linked to a host of health problems as well as aging.

Learn more:

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