Did you know about 30% of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables? It’s true, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine and reported by the New York Times.
With health benefits like that, it’s not surprising the market for olive oil in the United States has tripled over the past two decades. Still, nearly all of the product is imported, according to a recent UC Davis study. Although the market share of shipment from Italy has declined in recent years, U.S. olive oil imports from Italy were still worth more than $500 million in 2012, while U.S. imports of olive oils from Spain were worth about $200 million. As more and more news reports of the health benefits of olive oil come out, it becomes very clear the demand is there and continues to rise. Burchell offers new super high-density varieties to help you get the most olives from your acreage.
Over the centuries, pomegranates have symbolized fertility, hope and prosperity. In our times, they have become a rising star in the superfoods movement. Demand for pomegranates for juice or as an ingredient continues to grow as consumers become more focused on healthy eating.
The Pomegranate Council proudly points to its namesake as one of the most nutritious fruits you can eat, high in vitamin C and potassium, a good source of fiber and loaded with polyphenols. According to their website, “The three types of polyphenols – tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid – are present in many fruits, but pomegranate juice contains particularly high amounts of all three. As antioxidants, they are credited with helping in the prevention of cancer and heart disease.”
Red wine and green tea are often touted for their antioxidant properties, but the levels found in pomegranates are thought to help neutralize almost twice as many free radicals as red wine and seven times as many as green tea. This makes pomegranates an increasingly popular weapon for slowing the aging process. And Men’s Health magazine reports, “The juice … can reduce your risk of most cancers… In fact, a recent study at UCLA found that pomegranate juice slows the growth of prostate cancer cells by a factor of six.”
The Pomegranate Council states about 250 growers in California produce almost all the domestic pomegranate crop on approximately 14,000 acres, mostly in the central and southern San Joaquin Valley. They grow several different varieties, the most popular being the Wonderful and Early Wonderful varieties. Important in these times, the California Rare Fruit Growers emphasize that pomegranates can take considerable drought.