September 7, 2020

Third year of “Olive Oil World Tour” begins in full swing

Focus on promoting health aspects of disease-preventing olive oil, including health benefits of use in Japanese food said to contribute…

Focus on promoting health aspects of disease-preventing olive oil, including health benefits of use in Japanese food said to contribute to life expectancy

TOKYO, Sept. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Olive Oils From Spain (, in collaboration with the EU,  has kicked off the third year of the Olive Oil World Tour in Japan, informing Japanese audiences about how olive oil contributes to health.

Japan and Spain ranked first and third, respectively, in the 2019 world life expectancy rankings from the World Health Organization (WHO). The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington made a prediction in 2018 that Spain will beat out Japan for first place in life expectancy in the year 2040. One of the reasons of such great life expectancy is dietary habits. What people call the “Mediterranean diet” is a product of Spain’s culture and society. It is the mainstream food there, much like the place washoku (Japanese cuisine) has in Japan. The Mediterranean diet is characterized by plentiful portions of whole grains and cereals, seasonal fruits and vegetables, beans, and nuts. The food also contains plenty of olive oil and involves little consumption of the saturated fatty acids that lead to the obesity and lifestyle diseases associated with a heavy intake of meat-based fats.

The basic structure of a Japanese meal is soup, rice, and three side dishes. These meals come with ample portions of grains and fish, helping to achieve an ideal nutritional balance. Like the Mediterranean diet, Japanese cuisine contains little saturated fatty acid, which reportedly contributes to the longevity of the Japanese people.

When the PREDIMED study conducted in Spain tested the effects of a Mediterranean diet using healthy ingredients and extra-virgin olive oil on people at high risk for various ailments, it found a 30% reduction in the risk for vascular disease and stroke and a 40% reduction in the risk for diabetes. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that is olive oil’s primary ingredient, helps improve blood cholesterol level, while extra virgin olive oil’s polyphenols reduces blood cholesterol content, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, extra virgin olive oil also contains vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by oxidation.

Dietician Kumiko Yoneyama provided some comments on using olive oil in washoku, a cuisine that reportedly extends life. “Olive oil goes great with Japanese foods. This of course includes fish, as well as tofu, natto, and other soybean products, along with pot herbs like perilla, and yuzu, a citrus fruit. Most people think of olive oil as something that you use in dishes like salads, but because the oleic acid is resistant to heat and oxidation, I would also recommend it for fried foods like tempura. Furthermore, since olive oil contains abundant amounts of antioxidants that helps to prevent arterial sclerosis and aging, I would expect daily use of a quality oil like olive oil in Japanese cuisine to amplify its effects.”

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