By Yardley Messeroux
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from New York
Jeanne Calment was born in 1875. She had one daughter with her husband Fernand Nicolas Calment, and they all lived in Arles, France.
Mariam Amash was born in 1888. She has 10 sons, 1 daughter, 120 grandchildren and 250 great-grandchildren. Amash currently lives in Jisr az-Zarqa, Israel.
There are two things that these women have in common. They lived past the age of 120 and both have attributed their longevity and youthfulness to olive oil.
For centuries, olive oil has been highly regarded for its nutritional, medicinal and cosmetic value. According to Calment and Amash, additional attributes are longevity and the enhancement of aesthetic beauty.
Perhaps living to the age of 120 is not a goal that all aspire to achieve. However, living a reasonably long and healthy life while appearing youthful doing so is something most of us deem quite desirable.
Calment and Amash have tapped into the olive oil ‘fountain of youth’ and they’ve shared their regimen.
1. Sip two tablespoons of quality extra virgin olive oil daily.
This practice may help increase arterial elasticity and decrease vascular stress to the arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Sipping a little olive oil daily can help control blood pressure levels and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Although Amash claimed that she drank 1 full glass of olive oil every day, this may not be a realistic routine for even the most avid olive oil consumer. Just two tablespoons each day will suffice.
2. Pour it on.
The monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in olive oil are associated with lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL “bad cholesterol.” It will also control insulin levels and blood sugar — especially helpful for individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Begin and finish all meals with extra virgin olive oil as Calment was known to do. Drizzle the cooking pan or pot prior to cooking, and conclude by dressing with extra virgin olive oil.
3. Apply extra virgin olive oil to the skin.
The largest organ of the body is the skin, and it requires care by way of moisture. Olive oil has been used for thousands of years as a moisturizer and wound healing. It also appears that it may protect against DNA damage of the skin after exposure to UV light.
After showering, apply olive oil directly to damp skin as a moisturizer. The water will help the oil penetrate the layers of the skin.
Other Tidbits on Calment and Amash’s Diet
Wikipedia said “Calment ascribed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance for her age to olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed onto her skin, as well as a diet of port wine, and she ate nearly one kilogram of chocolate every week.”
Jeanne Calment died in 1997 at the age of 122.
Also according to Wikipedia, Amash said the key to longevity is a healthy diet abundant in vegetables. “In particular, she attributes her own longevity to drinking olive oil every day, avoiding alcohol, and eating a local herb Palestinians often used in salads. She also stated that she expected to live another ten years,” according to the article.
Mariam Amash is still living in Israel today.
This article was last updated February 27, 2012 - 6:23 PM (GMT-4)