Simple Trick Makes Your Veggies Healthier

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

March 11, 2020

Let me tell you about my nightly dinners…

Walking into my home, you’ll hear some upbeat music from an artist like Caro Emerald drifting from my stereo system.

Then, you’ll enter my kitchen. It’s a cheerful place with warm colors and everything neatly organized.

Let me tell you about my nightly dinners…

Walking into my home, you’ll hear some upbeat music from an artist like Caro Emerald drifting from my stereo system.

Then, you’ll enter my kitchen. It’s a cheerful place with warm colors and everything neatly organized.

On the table, you’ll find all my ingredients chopped and separated into little white bowls.

Martha Stewart would be proud…

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Then, I’ll have a heap of colorful vegetables sitting on the counter – all cleaned, prepped and ready to toss into my pan.

When the time comes, I’ll carefully begin adding my ingredients. First the ginger, then the garlic, and then my chosen protein for the night – either organic chicken, wild seafood or some extra firm tofu.

But, before anything else, I add in one special ingredient that creates the true magic…

I’m talking – of course – about extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

It’s one of the healthiest foods on the planet and a staple in my everyday kitchen.

This key ingredient of the Mediterranean diet not only adds flavor, but also depth to my meals. It helps enhance the nutrition of every other ingredient in my pan.

Simple food like tomatoes, onions, garlic and blueberries are all filled with healthy polyphenols,bioactive non-nutrient plant compounds whose physiological effects depend on their transformation by gut microbiota to improve healthy bacterial growth…a good thing that and carotenoids. The simple addition of some EVOO allows your body to more easily use these nutrients.

Here’s a perfect example…

Studies have shown that cooking tomatoes with olive oil can increase your body’s levels of the carotenoid lycopene by more than 80% in just five days.

That’s a pretty important boost, especially for men, as lycopene is well known for protecting against prostate cancer.

So, many of the health benefits of the Mediterranean style diet are actually due to EVOO. It works with other ingredients to release healthy nutrients and allows your body to more easily access the compounds.

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The Super Power of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Now, enhancing other foods is wonderful, but EVOO has its own set of health benefits to brag about…

It’s loaded with nutrients called polyphenols, which can help your body battle the signs of aging.

The polyphenols help you look and feel younger by working against pro-inflammatory genes within your body. They also help change the expression of genes that influence your risk of heart disease and artery plaque build-up.

One particular compound in EVOO, called oleocanthal, can even help protect your brain.

It boosts production of proteins and enzymes that are critical in removing beta amyloid – a key factor in Alzheimer’s disease.

And just a third of an ounce of EVOO eaten with meals each day can reduce after meal blood sugar, improve insulin response and lower levels of oxidized LDL.

You won’t get these kinds of results with plain old vegetable oil!

Now I don’t eat the same foods every day. I like to switch things up. But I do consume EVOO in the majority of my meals.

And guess what happens every time I cook my vegetables, herbs and spices with it?

Some of the nutrients from the plant-based foods leach into the EVOO, and the polyphenols in the olive oil get absorbed by the veggies – thereby multiplying the power of both!

I like blending it with garlic and herbs. Then I use it as a drizzle for my roasted veggies and as a marinade for my picked protein. I use it in dipping sauces, marinades and a whole lot more.

One of my favorite ways to use olive oil is with lemon juice as a salad dressing. It’s delicious!

If you’re ready to start using more EVOO in your kitchen, look online for a quality brand. I will often search for the “best olive oils” of a particular year.

I like varieties that are cold-pressed, unfiltered, certified organic and come in a dark glass bottle.

Don’t cook with EVOO over high heat and be aware of how much you add to your dish. Every tablespoon of EVOO will add about 120 calories to your meal.

Then, use it in most of your meals – especially cooked with your rainbow colored veggies – to get the biggest health benefit.


Lynch SR, et al. Interaction of vitamin C and iron. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1980;355:32-44.

Green RJ, et al. Common tea formulations modulate in vitro digestive recovery of green tea catechins. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Sep;51(9):1152-62.

Unlu NZ, et al. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. J Nutr. 2005 Mar;135(3):431-6.

Fielding JM, et al. Increases in plasma lycopene concentration after consumption of tomatoes cooked with olive oil. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2005;14(2):131-6.

Antonio Camargo, et al. Gene expression changes in mononuclear cells from patients with metabolic syndrome after acute intake of phenol-rich virgin olive oil. BMC Genomics, 2010.

Abuznait AH, et al. Olive-Oil-Derived Oleocanthal Enhances β-Amyloid Clearance as a Potential Neuroprotective Mechanism against Alzheimer’s Disease: In Vitro and in Vivo Studies. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2013 Jun 19; 4(6): 973–982.

Violi F, et al. Extra virgin olive oil use is associated with improved post-prandial blood glucose and LDL cholesterol in healthy subjects. Nutr Diabetes. 2015 Jul 20;5:e172.

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