By Daniel Williams
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona
Spain’s Health Ministry, under a project related to the impending Law of Food Security has proposed dressing the salads of school lunches with extra virgin olive oil. Through the implementation of olive oil in school menus, Mr. Trinidad Jimémenez’s Health Department hopes to curb the unhealthy eating habits of today’s youth in order to prevent obesity and poor health. The inclusion of olive oil into school meals would also create an institutionalized increase in the internal demand for Spanish olive oil, much of which has been forced to remain in warehouses across the country in order to limit output and rescue falling prices.
One of the measures outlined in the proposed Law of Food Security prohibits the sale of food with high contents of saturated fats, trans-fats, salt and simple sugars, whether these foods be sold from vending machines, bars or similar establishments situated in educational centers. The law, which still has yet to be passed, has been revised and expanded upon by leading scientists and health experts who fear the spread of unhealthy eating habits among young Spaniards today, something made even more accessible by the cheap costs and availability of such foods in centers of learning throughout the country. These experts also unanimously agree upon the numerous health benefits of routine olive oil consumption.
The law’s proposed mission is to “help the school population to attain an adequate balance of energy and support the prevention of obesity by limiting the consumption of unhealthy products and offering healthy options in their place.” The law specifically proposes using extra virgin olive oil as a healthy alternative to other salad dressings. In addition to promoting cardiovascular health, olive oil has been show to actually make some of the nutrients in the salad easier to absorb, such as phytochemicals and fat-soluble vitamins.
Despite a far-from-perfect health system and some of the world’s highest rates of tobacco and alcohol consumption, Spaniards still show low incidences of cirrhosis, strokes, various cancers, and heart disease. Spaniards also boast the 3rd longest life expectancy in the world, trailing only Italians and Swedes, and live 3 years longer than the average American. Many researchers believe that the Spanish health record and longevity can be at least partly attributed to a diet rich in olive oil.
La Razon.es July 12, 2010“Sanidad destierra de los colegios golosinas refrescos y chocolates”