This month the organizations Nutrition Australia and the Australian Olive Association are co-hosting a series of free seminars on the health benefits of consuming extra virgin olive oil. The events are being held in Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney and include a two-course lunch and presentations by three experts in the field.

Aimed primarily at health professionals, the “Let Food By My Medicine” seminar features presentations by key note speaker Dr. Mary Flynn PhD, a nutritionist at The Miriam Hospital, a division of the Brown Medical School teaching hospital; Dr. Richard Gawel, research scientist and head judge at the Australian National Olive Oil Competition; and Lucinda Hancock, executive officer of Nutrition Australia.

Flynn has taught Principles of Nutrition and Diet and Chronic Diseases at Brown since 1998. Her research focuses on the relationship between diet and the development and treatment of chronic diseases. She developed a plant-based EVOO diet and is currently working on a study comparing the diet to one recommended by the U.S. National Cancer Institute for women with invasive breast cancer.

In his presentation in Brisbane, Gawel shared information supporting the claim that cooking with olive oil is not unhealthy as many consumers have been led to believe, particularly when the oil is of high quality. Several health professionals in attendance tweeted their support for Gawel using the hashtag #foodismedicine. TODAY show nutritionist Dr. Joanna McMillan wrote “Let’s lose this myth forever! Yes you can cook with extra virgin olive oil!” and “Good olive oil has high smoke point above even very hot cooking e.g. fried fish.”

Nutrition Australia is a non-profit organization with offices throughout Australia that aims to promote the health and well-being of all Australians. Formed in 1995, the Australian Olive Association is the industry body representing Australian Olive Growers.

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