16 Facts About Artichokes

By: Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA
16 Facts About Artichokes

The artichoke is a perennial thistle that originated in the Mediterranean. The artichoke is technically a flower bud that has not yet bloomed.

The first mention of artichokes in literature was around 40-70 AD in The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides, a book on the medicinal uses of plants.

The Greeks and Romans considered them to be an aphrodisiac.

Artichoke seeds were found during the excavation of Mons Claudianus in Egypt during the Roman period.

Until the 16th century, women were prohibited from eating them in many countries because they were still considered to have aphrodisiac properties.

In 1576, Dr. Bartolomeo Boldo wrote in the “Book of Nature” that the artichoke “has the virture of … provoking Venus for both men and women; for women making them more desirable, and helping the men who are in these matters rather tardy.”

44 Questions To Ask Yourself in a New Relationship

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA
44 Questions To Ask Yourself in a New Relationship

Have you been dating a guy you really like for the past few months? Are you thinking you want to be in a long-term relationship with him? If so, you may be wondering when to have “the talk” with him. Instead of rushing to do so, first determine your reasons for actually wanting to be in a committed relationship.

Reasons based on any variation of, “I’m tired of being single. I’m sick of dating. I’m getting older so I’d better get married soon. What if I don’t find someone better?” mean he’s not the one you really want. If you’re in this situation, he just happens to be the guy in front of you — not necessarily the best guy for you. Wanting to be in a relationship for the wrong reasons guarantees a short-term relationship or a future of unhappiness. Let him go so that he can find a woman who is truly excited to be with him… and so you can find a man who’s perfect for you.

If he’s the one you really want, your reasons will include things like “I really like him as a person. I like who I am when I’m around him and when we’re apart. I smile just thinking of him. I love being with him.” If this describes you, your relationship has the potential for a long-term commitment.

But how do you know what’s important to consider in making such an important decision? The following relationship questions will confirm whether or not you’re both compatible for the long run.

44 Relationship Questions To Ask Yourself In A New Relationship
Check in with your inner monologue and answer these relationship questions after you have gotten to know him well enough to get a good sense of who he is. If you don’t know him very well, don’t answer these questions until you learn more about him (and don’t make a decision about whether he’s the guy for you before then, either!).

About Me
Do I like how he treats me?
Am I a priority in his life?
Does he respect me?
Do I feel safe around him?
Does he accept me for who I am?
Am I being my authentic self around him?
Can I express myself freely when difficult situations come up?
Do I feel secure when we’re together and when we’re not together?
Does he inspire me to be the best version of myself?
Is he encouraging and supportive of what I want in life?
Is he genuinely happy for me when good things happen to me?
Can I live with his quirky behaviors and traits?
Do I like him the way he is if he never changes?
Am I having fun with him?
Do I like who I am when I’m with and without him?
Do I feel uplifted when we’re together?
Do I feel free to pursue my passions, have alone time, and spend time with friends and family?
Do my family and friends like him?
Do I like his family and friends?
Can I see us growing old together?

Now, you’ll need to answer some questions about him. (After all, he is the variable factor in this equation)!

About him
Does he treat his family well?
Does he treat others well?
Is he patient with me?
Does he bring out the best in me?
Can he live with my quirky behaviors and traits?
Does he have any red flags?
Is he a true friend?
Is he open to trying new things and adventures?
Is he open to my perspectives?
Has he introduced me to his family and friends?
Does he include me in all aspects of his life?
Does he add joy to my life?
Do his behaviors and actions match his words?
Does he have integrity (i.e. trustworthy, does what he says and says what he does, etc.)?
Is he ready to settle down with one woman?
Is he looking for a long-term commitment?

About us
Do we have similar goals in life?
Do we share similar morals and values?
Do we have similar financial styles?
Do we communicate openly and respectfully?
Do we truly enjoy each other’s company?
Do we add to each other’s lives in a positive way?
Does our connection grow stronger each time we see each other?
Are we looking for the same type of relationship?

What Your Answers Reveal And What To Do
If you’ve answered “yes” to all of these questions, your man is a keeper. You’re definitely on track to a long-term, committed relationship. Continue being the woman he is falling for, accept your differences, embrace his quirks, and live your own life by doing things you love. If you want to have “the talk”, simply share how you would like to see your relationship progress (without being demanding and without an ultimatum) and let him share his thoughts.

If you’ve answered “no” to some of these questions, don’t panic. Some of your “no” answers aren’t necessarily an indication that you’re not on track to a great long-term relationship. They may indicate some inner work needing to be done if you don’t want to keep repeating the same relationship patterns. For instance, if you’ve always had a hard time communicating openly in your relationships, this is a pattern you’ll want to reverse. Having a healthy relationship means expressing yourself freely in all situations, especially difficult ones. If “no” is your answer to “Can I express myself freely when difficult situations come up?”, this is an opportunity to improve your communication skills.

If your answers are a mix of “yes” and “no”, review your “no” answers and determine which ones are deal breakers and which ones you can live with. For instance, if you want a long-term commitment, and he isn’t looking to settle down with one woman, this is definitely a deal breaker. Instead of wasting precious years by staying around and hoping he’ll change his mind, leave and make yourself available for a guy who wants a long-term commitment with you. As hard as it may be to leave a guy you really like, it’s in your best interest — you won’t waste valuable time in a dead-end relationship or he may realize you are “the one” and come back for you.

The Bottom Line

If you’re in a new relationship with a guy you really like, let these questions be part of your decision-making process to determine if he is worthy of being in monogamous, long-term commitment with you. What other relationship questions do you think a woman should ask to see if she’s on the right track for a long-term commitment?

10 Benefits of Carrots: The Crunchy Powerfood

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA
10 Benefits of Carrots: The Crunchy Powerfood

Forget about vitamin A pills. With this orange crunchy powerfood, you get vitamin A and a host of other powerful health benefits including beautiful skin, cancer prevention, and anti-aging. Read how to get maximum benefits from this amazing vegetable.

Benefits of Carrots

1. Improved Vision
Western culture’s understanding of carrots being “good for the eyes” is one of the few we got right. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.

Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts. A study found that people who eat the most beta-carotene had 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed little.

2. Cancer Prevention
Studies have shown carrots reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. Researchers have just discovered falcarinol and falcarindiol which they feel cause the anticancer properties.

Falcarinol is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound. A study showed 1/3 lower cancer risk by carrot-eating mice.

3. Anti-Aging
The high level of beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells.

4. Healthy Glowing Skin (from the inside)
Vitamin A and antioxidants protects the skin from sun damage. Deficiencies of vitamin A cause dryness to the skin, hair and nails. Vitamin A prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, and uneven skin tone.

5. A Powerful Antiseptic
Carrots are known by herbalists to prevent infection. They can be used on cuts – shredded raw or boiled and mashed.

6. Beautiful Skin (from the outside)
Carrots are used as an inexpensive and very convenient facial mask. Just mix grated carrot with a bit of honey. See the full recipe here: carrot face mask.

7. Prevent Heart Disease
Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein.

The regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels because the soluble fibers in carrots bind with bile acids.

8. Cleanse the Body
Vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out the toxins from the body. It reduces the bile and fat in the liver. The fibers present in carrots help clean out the colon and hasten waste movement.

9. Healthy Teeth and Gums
It’s all in the crunch! Carrots clean your teeth and mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.

10. Prevent Stroke:
From all the above benefits it is no surprise that in a Harvard University study, people who ate more than six carrots a week are less likely to suffer a stroke than those who ate only one carrot a month or less.

Client-Consultant Relationship

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

A Match Made in Heaven?
In consulting, the beginning is very important. First impressions are made that tend to last, even if erroneous. It can be a time of vulnerability and defensiveness. But, if an atmosphere of safety is established; it can set the tone for a productive and collaborative relationship.

The following section is taken from a packet of materials that, whenever possible, I ask the prospective client to look at in anticipation of our first meeting.

The Client-Consultant Relationship1

The client-consultant relationship is designed to be an extremely rewarding experience. This collaborative endeavor can generate a substantial return on investment for the client’s business. It can also lead to dramatic changes that affect the company, its culture, and employees. In the case of family businesses, positive results can impact generations to come.

One must work hard, however, to make the client-consultant relationship as fruitful as it can be. The early phases are crucial. This presentation of some of my thoughts and philosophy on consulting is an attempt to get the relationship off on the right foot and increase the odds that it will be a mutually gratifying experience.

Phase One — Establishing Chemistry
It all starts with the first phone call. The caller may be an owner or CEO wrestling with an organizational, strategic, or personnel issue. In the case of a family business, it may involve an owner-founder facing business decisions that are intertwined with family dynamics.

This initial interchange is complex. When a potential client calls with a problem or question, he often expects an immediate action plan. Instead, what he’ll hear from me are questions. This may be initially frustrating for some. Good questions, however, reveal the need for further discussion. Face-to-face interaction follows, in the form of a chemistry meeting.

The chemistry meeting can be anywhere from one half-hour meeting to a series of several meetings. It may involve just the owner or CEO, or it may include several individuals in a firm or several family members. During this phase the various issues facing the client are discussed.

I gather information through questions and by listening to the story being presented to me. During this time, the client and I are developing a sense of how well we can work together. This unfolding dialogue is central to the establishment of trust and collaboration.

During this phase, the initial scope of the work and mutual expectations are defined. There may be some specific assignments, such as establishing coaching relationships with executives or the presentation of a seminar. Other work may be more open-ended, such as future discussions with the CEO or HR to develop a clearer understanding of the corporate culture, an outline for a leadership development program, or to discuss succession planning.

Phase Two — Identifying the Client
It’s not always clear who the client is. For instance, my contact may be a Human Resources VP dealing with a senior executive who is negatively affecting the rest of the Executive Team, and in turn the bottom line. Who is the client? Is it the Human Resources VP, the senior executive, or the company? The goal is to make interventions that are simultaneously beneficial for all involved.

I can provide advocacy and coaching for the senior executive the Human Resources VP wants me to work with while serving the best interests of the company at large. Given appropriate resources and support, we can generate a synergistic, positive outcome from which everyone can benefit.

Like a primary physician, a consultant gathers information through questions, and possibly tests, to arrive at a diagnosis and construct a plan of action. Unlike a primary physician who checks some boxes and hands a form to the billing department to obtain payment from the client or insurance company, the consultant and client need to agree on expectations and manner of payment.

Phase Three — Estimating the Cost
Clients are businessmen. It is their nature and their job to justify expenses and to, as much as possible, have a sense of the return on any investment. The benefits of a consulting engagement, however, are usually difficult to measure.

What dollar figure do we place on consulting work done that enabled a senior executive to improve his organizational skills, and his interpersonal relations with the Executive Team and direct reports? Did that work have anything to do with the success of a project the senior executive headed that had been floundering for 10 months before the consultant began the coaching relationship? Should the consultant share in the credit for the major profits this key project generated for the company? Of course, not every consulting engagement achieves all that was hoped for.

My clinical training has instilled in me strict adherence to the motto: Above all do no harm. My personality, work ethic, and values make it very uncomfortable for me to work in a situation where Im not being helpful. These principles guide my consulting work; and, along with my training and expertise, form the basis for my schedule of fees.

Phase Four — Starting the Work
At this point, rapport and a sense of trust have been established and the client engages me as a hired consultant. The assessment process still continues. This may involve individual interviews with key personnel or family members. Essential historical, financial, and operational information about the business is necessary to obtain a holistic picture of the business system and culture. Recommendations by past consultants are also relevant.

Specific coaching assignments and projects with concrete objectives may be started. However, it is important to realize that as the early work phase unfolds, other important short-term and long-term goals may become known. This may require some prioritizing. The ongoing assessment process may reveal a major organizational or strategic need that must be addressed. For instance, it may become clear to a family business contracting me for executive coaching work with the owner’s son that the important issue of succession planning requires much needed attention.

Phase Five — Developing My Role as Consultant
There are a number of different roles I can serve as a consultant to the business. As the work unfolds, the client may want to enlist me to serve these various functions.

Coach — As a coach, I can work with individuals to improve interpersonal, leadership, and organizational skills; to expand self-awareness and self-management; to define personal and career goals; to increase the understanding of group and organizational dynamics; to recognize the various components of the company’s culture; to align personal and company visions; and, in general to increase the range, flexibility, and effectiveness of the individual’s behavioral repertoire with co-workers, clients, and family.

Conflict Manager — Prolonged unresolved conflict between two key individuals in the system can paralyze and even destroy a company or family. Key dyads can involve conflict between two partners; an owner-founder and spouse (the executive couple); the head of sales and the plant manager; or other principal pairs. Conflict may also exist in the Executive Team. It may render operational and strategic meetings useless. My role is not to be judge or mediator but to facilitate communication and to help establish true dialogue – the art of thinking together.

Teacher — Situations may arise where a teaching module or seminar can be customized and utilized to serve, not only an instructional, but an organizationally strategic purpose. In my role as consultant, I promote a stance and approach that underscores how expanding knowledge generates healthy business and personal functioning. This role may require me to be the one to ask the tough questions that need to be asked. Colluding to avoid the examination of critical issues does not serve the interest of the client. But, it is important that the consultant ask questions skillfully and with good timing. In my role as teacher I also contribute to the development of the business as a learning organization.

Interpreter — This could be my most valuable service. As an experienced observer of human nature and human organizations I am able to process and decode a great deal of emotional and psychological information that may be meaningless or too ambiguous to the casual observer or the individual enmeshed in the system. I can recognize themes, trends, and other phenomena and interpret them to the client. He can make use of this valuable information to effect organizational change and strategy.

A word about confidentiality. In order to be effective I must have the trust of those I work with. They must be assured that any information given to me stays with me unless I have permission to disclose it.

10 Common Time Management Mistakes

By: Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA
Avoiding Common Pitfalls

How well do you manage your time? If you’re like many people, your answer may not be completely positive!

Perhaps you feel overloaded, and you often have to work late to hit your deadlines. Or maybe your days seem to go from one crisis to another, and this is stressful and demoralizing.

Many of us know that we could be managing our time more effectively; but it can be difficult to identify the mistakes that we’re making, and to know how we could improve.

When we do manage our time well, however, we’re exceptionally productive at work, and our stress levels drop. We can devote time to the interesting, high-reward projects that can make a real difference to a career. In short, we’re happier!

In this article, we’re looking at ten of the most common time management mistakes, as well as identifying strategies and tips that you can use to overcome them. These ten mistakes are: –

Mistake #1. Failing to Keep a To-Do List

Do you ever have that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten to do an important piece of work? If so, you probably don’t use a To-Do List to keep on top of things. (Or, if you do, you might not be using it effectively!)

The trick with using To-Do Lists effectively lies in prioritizing the tasks on your list. Many people use an A – F coding system (A for high priority items, F for very low priorities). Alternatively, you can simplify this by using A through D, or by using numbers.

If you have large projects on your list, then, unless you’re careful, the entries for these can be vague and ineffective. For instance, you may have written down “Start on budget proposal.” But what does this entail? The lack of specifics here might cause you to procrastinate, or miss key steps. So make sure that you break large tasks or projects down into specific, actionable steps – then you won’t overlook something important.

Mistake #2. Not Setting Personal Goals

Do you know where you’d like to be in six months? What about this time next year, or even 10 years from now? If not, it’s time to set some personal goals!

Personal goal setting is essential to managing your time well, because goals give you a destination and vision to work toward. When you know where you want to go, you can manage your priorities, time, and resources to get there. Goals also help you decide what’s worth spending your time on, and what’s just a distraction.

Mistake #3. Not Prioritizing

Your assistant has just walked in with a crisis that she needs you to deal with right now, but you’re in the middle of brainstorming ideas for a new client. You’re sure that you’ve almost come up with a brilliant idea for their marketing campaign, but now you risk losing the thread of your thinking because of this “emergency.”

Sometimes, it’s hard to know how to prioritize , especially when you’re facing a flood of seemingly-urgent tasks. However, it’s essential to learn how to prioritize tasks effectively if you want to manage your time better.

Mistake #4. Failing to Manage Distractions

Do you know that some of us can lose as much as two hours a day to distractions? Think how much you could get done if you had that time back!

Whether they come from emails, IM chats, colleagues in a crisis, or phone calls from clients, distractions prevent us from achieving flow , which is the satisfying and seemingly effortless work that we do when we’re 100 percent engaged in a task.

If you want to gain control of your day and do your best work, it’s vital to know how to minimize distractions and manage interruptions effectively. For instance, turn off your IM chat when you need to focus, and let people know if they’re distracting you too often. You should also learn how to improve your concentration , even when you’re faced with distractions.

Mistake #5. Procrastination

Procrastination occurs when you put off tasks that you should be focusing on right now. When you procrastinate, you feel guilty that you haven’t started; you come to dread doing the task; and, eventually, everything catches up with you when you fail to complete the work on time.

Start by taking our procrastination quiz to find out if procrastination is a problem in your life. If it is, then learn the strategies you need to beat procrastination .

For instance, one useful strategy is to tell yourself that you’re only going to start on a project for ten minutes. Often, procrastinators feel that they have to complete a task from start to finish, and this high expectation makes them feel overwhelmed and anxious. Instead, focus on devoting a small amount of time to starting. That’s all!

Mistake #6. Taking on too Much

Are you a person who has a hard time saying “no” to people? If so, you probably have far too many projects and commitments on your plate. This can lead to poor performance, stress, and low morale.

Or, you might be a micromanager : someone who insists on controlling or doing all of the work themselves, because they can’t trust anyone else to do it correctly. (This can be a problem for everyone – not just managers!)

Either way, taking on too much is a poor use of your time, and it can get you a reputation for producing rushed, sloppy work.

Mistake #7. Thriving on “Busy” Some people get a rush from being busy. The narrowly-met deadlines, the endless emails, the piles of files needing attention on the desk, the frantic race to the meeting… What an adrenaline buzz! The problem is that an “addiction to busyness” rarely means that you’re effective, and it can lead to stress.

Mistake #8. Multitasking

To get on top of her workload, Linda regularly writes emails while she chats on the phone to her clients. However, while Linda thinks that this is a good use of her time, the truth is that it can take 20-40 percent more time to finish a list of jobs when you multitask, compared with completing the same list of tasks in sequence. The result is also that she does both tasks poorly – her emails are full of errors, and her clients are frustrated by her lack of concentration.

So, the best thing is to forget about multitasking , and, instead, focus on one task at a time. That way, you’ll produce higher quality work.

Mistake #9. Not Taking Breaks

It’s nice to think that you can work for 8-10 hours straight, especially when you’re working to a deadline. But it’s impossible for anyone to focus and produce really high-quality work without giving their brains some time to rest and recharge.

So, don’t dismiss breaks as “wasting time.” They provide valuable down-time, which will enable you to think creatively and work effectively.

If it’s hard for you to stop working, then schedule breaks for yourself, or set an alarm as a reminder. Go for a quick walk, grab a cup of coffee, or just sit and meditate at your desk. Try to take a five minute break every hour or two. And make sure that you give yourself ample time for lunch -you won’t produce top quality work if you’re hungry!

Mistake #10. Ineffectively Scheduling Tasks Are you a morning person? Or do you find your energy picking up once the sun begins to set in the evening? All of us have different rhythms, that is, different times of day when we feel most productive and energetic –

Secrets Revealed: The Powerful Health Benefits of the Pomegranate

BY MIHRAN KALAYDJIAN, CHA
Secrets Revealed: The Powerful Health Benefits of the Pomegranate

One of the oldest known fruits, found in writings and artifacts of many cultures and religions, the pomegranate (punica granatum) is an original native of Persia. This nutrient dense, antioxidant rich fruit has been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and eternal life.

If you’re not familiar with the pomegranate, it is a red fruit with a tough outer layer; only the juice and the seeds inside are edible. Pomegranate juice is available year round, but you can purchase fresh pomegranates in most grocery stores from September through January. When refrigerated in a plastic bag, pomegranates keep for up to 2 months. Try tossing the seeds on a salad for a brilliantly colorful, crunchy, and nutritious addition.

Seeding a pomegranate may seem like a lot of work for just a piece of fruit but think again. getting at those seeds may be well worth it. The pomegranate is a nutrient dense food source rich in phytochemical compounds. Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer. A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.

Amazing Clinical Results
This fantastic little fruit recently made its way back into the news after some spectacular clinical results. Here’s what you need to know:

Compounds found only in pomegranates called punicalagins are shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. Punicalagins are the major component responsible for pomegranate’s antioxidant and health benefits. They not only lower cholesterol, but also lower blood pressure and increase the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) melt away.

Recent medical research studied heart patients with severe carotid artery blockages. They were given an ounce of pomegranate juice each day for a year. Not only did study participants’ blood pressure lower by over 12 percent, but there was a 30 percent reduction in atherosclerotic plaque. Just as astounding, participants who did not take the pomegranate juice saw their atherosclerotic plaque increase by 9 percent.

In other studies, potent antioxidant compounds found in pomegranates have shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.2

Not only are pomegranates good for your heart and blood vessels but they have been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and to prevent vascular changes that promote tumor growth in lab animals.3 Several in vitro studies have shown this remarkable anti-cancer effect. Additional studies and clinical trials currently taking place are hopeful to reveal this fascinating effect on humans.

Also of note, pomegranate juice contains phytochemical compounds that stimulate serotonin and estrogen receptors, improving symptoms of depression and increasing bone mass in lab animals.

Many studies show that the pomegranate is one of the most powerful, nutrient dense foods for overall good health. These clinical findings clearly show a correlation between pomegranate compounds and their positive effect on both human and animal cardiovascular, nervous, and skeletal health. This is one fruit that you can’t afford to exclude from your diet!

DOME OF THE ROCK IN JERUSALEM

DOME OF THE ROCK IN JERUSALEM

The Dome of the Rock is a 7th-century edifice located in Jerusalem.

It enshrines the rock from which Muḥammad is said to have ascended to heaven.

Sometimes erroneously called the Mosque of Umar, from a tradition that it was built by Caliph Umar I, the Dome of the Rock was actually built by Caliph Abd al-Malik between 687 and 691.

The first domed shrine to be built, the Dome of the Rock is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.

The octagonal plan and the rotunda dome of wood are of Byzantine design. The Persian tiles on the exterior and the marble slabs that decorate the interior were added by Suleiman I in 1561.

The Dome of the Rock is located on a rocky outcrop known as Mount Moriah, where, according to Jewish belief, Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice. The inscriptions inside the building glorify Islam as the final true revelation and culmination of the faiths of Judaism and Christianity. The building is actually not a mosque but a ciborium, erected over a sacred site.

According to later Islamic tradition, the Rock (al-Sakhra) in the midst of the building was the spot from which Mohammed ascended to heaven after his miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem on the winged steed al-Buraq.

A tradition states that by building the dome, Abd al-Malik was attempting to transfer the Islamic hajj to Jerusalem from Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The 60-foot-diameter, timber-framed double dome, covered internally with colored and gilded stucco and originally roofed with lead covered in gold, rises 35 meters over the holy rock.

It is carried on a tall drum, originally faced with glass mosaics, which rests on a circular arcade of 12 marble columns, set in threes between four large rectangular piers. At the top of the drum, 16 colored glass windows light the central space. Inside and outside, the Dome of the Rock was enriched with marble columns and facings and floral mosaic patterns.

During the Crusades, the Dome of the Rock was commandeered as a Christian shrine before returning to Islamic hands. Many medieval people believed it to be the famous Temple of King Solomon.

Today, it is at the very core of a bitter dispute between Palestinians and Israelis. Although sometimes referred to as the Mosque of Omar, the Dome of the Rock is in fact not a mosque. Nevertheless, as the oldest extant Islamic monument, it served as a model for architecture and other artistic endeavors across three continents for a millennium.

Olive Oil Health Benefits and Nutrition

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA
Olive Oil Health Benefits and Nutrition

Olive Oil Health Benefits

The health benefits of olive oil are extensive with new positive attributes discovered all the time. One prominent cardiologist recommends at least two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil each day to enjoy the many ways olive oil can be beneficial to your health and well being.

In addition to bolstering the immune system and helping to protect against viruses, olive oil has also been found to be effective in fighting against diseases such as:

Cancer: The phytonutrient in olive oil, oleocanthal, mimics the effect of ibuprofen in reducing inflammation, which can decrease the risk of breast cancer and its recurrence. Squalene and lignans are among the other olive oil components being studied for their possible effects on cancer.

Heart Disease: Olive oil helps lower levels of blood cholesterol leading to heart disease.

Oxidative Stress: Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin E, long thought to minimize cancer risk. Among plant oils, olive oil is the highest in monounsaturated fat, which doesn’t oxidize in the body, and it’s low in polyunsaturated fat, the kind that does oxidize.

Blood Pressure: Recent studies indicate that regular consumption of olive oil can help decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Diabetes: It has been demonstrated that a diet that is rich in olive oil, low in saturated fats, moderately rich in carbohydrates and soluble fiber from fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains is the most effective approach for diabetics. It helps lower “bad” low-density lipoproteins while improving blood sugar control and enhances insulin sensitivity.

Obesity: Although high in calories, olive oil has shown to help reduce levels of obesity.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Although the reasons are still not fully clear, recent studies have proved that people with diets containing high levels of olive oil are less likely to develop rheumatiod arthritis.

Osteoporosis: A high consumption of olive oil appears to improve bone mineralization and calcification. It helps calcium absorption and so plays an important role in aiding sufferers and in preventing the onset of Osteoporosis.

Olive Oil Might Help Prevent Strokes

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According to a new study from France, older individuals who consume olive oil daily may be able to protect themselves from a stroke. The study which is part of the Three-City Study, an ongoing multicenter study of vascular risk factors for dementia, was published in the online issue of Neurology.

Researchers gathered information from the medical records of 7,625 individuals over the age of 65 from three cities in France: Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier. None of the participants had a history of stroke. They then categorized the individuals into three groups based on their olive oil consumption. The researchers noted that the participants used mostly extra virgin olive oil, as that is what is usually available in France.

After 5 years there were 148 strokes. The results showed that the “intensive” users of olive oil, those that used for both cooking and dressings had a 41 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those that did not use olive oil at all. These results were noted even after considering weight, diet, physical activity and other risk factors.

Olive Oil Diet Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Traditionally a low fat diet has been prescribed to prevent various diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. While studies have shown that high fat diets may increase the risk of certain diseases such as cancer and diabetes, it appears that it is the type of fat that counts rather than the amount of fat. We now know that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats such as the ones found in olive oil, nuts and seeds actually protects from many of these chronic diseases.

A recent Spanish study published in the scientific journal Diabetes Care showed that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil reduces the risk of type II diabetes by almost 50 percent compared to a low fat diet. Type II diabetes is the most common and preventable form of diabetes.

Olive Oil Keeps the Heart Young

A diet rich in olive oil may be able to slow down the aging of the heart. It is a known fact that as we grow older the heart also goes through a normal aging process. The arteries may not function as well as they did and this can lead to a number of health problems. However, in a recent study, Spanish researchers discovered that a diet rich in olive oil or other monounsaturated fats could improve the arterial function of elderly individuals.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared the effect of a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil with that of a low fat high carbohydrate diet and a diet rich in saturated fats and concluded that the diet rich in olive oil resulted in the reduction of endothelial damage and dysfunction.

Olive Oil Fights Osteoporosis

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Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass, which in turn causes the architecture of bone tissue to become fragile. This can then increase the possibly of fractures, making even the slightest of knocks potentially fatal for sufferers.

The disease is recognized as being particularly prevalent among postmenopausal women for whom a decrease in the production of estrogen then weakens bone structures and most commonly affects the ribs, wrists, and hips. For this study, scientists were particularly interested in how a supplementation of olive oil could be used to help women in this category.

Tests were carried out on rats showing comparable conditions to female human menopause, with one group being treated orally with olive oil. At the end of the experiment, blood samples were collected and tested for levels of calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), malondialdehyde (MDA), and nitrates.

The results found that that rats not treated with olive oil showed a significant decrease in calcium levels and a significant increase in plasma ALP, MDA, and nitrates levels.
Olive Oil May Protect from Depression

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It is common knowledge that olive oil and the Mediterranean diet confer a multitude of health benefits. But what about emotional health benefits? According to Spanish researchers from the University of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a diet rich in olive oil can protect from mental illness.

The study included 12,059 volunteers who were part of the SUN Project, a prospective study among Spanish university alumni, aimed to identify the dietary determinants of stroke, coronary disease and other disorders. The researchers followed these volunteers for over 6 years and gathered data on lifestyle factors such as diet as well as medical history. At the beginning of the study none of the volunteers suffered from depression, and by the end of the study, 657 new cases were detected.

The data revealed that volunteers that had a high intake of trans fats, a hydrogenated fat found mainly in processed foods, had up to 48 percent increased risk of depression compared to volunteers who did not consume these fats . In addition, the researchers discovered that a higher intake of olive oil and polyunsaturated fats found in fatty fish and vegetable oils was associated with a lower risk of depression. According to the researchers these findings suggest that cardiovascular disease and depression may share some common mechanisms related to diet.

Olive Oil Found to Help Prevent Skin Cancer

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A study conducted by Dr. Niva Shapira from Tel Aviv University in Israel and Bob Kuklinski of Rockstock University in Germany found that olive oil, along with other components of a Mediterranean diet, may contribute to the prevention of malignant melanoma. Malignant melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, may be slowed down by consumption of olive oil, which is rich in antioxidants.

The research showed that the body develops a resistance to the damaging rays of the sun due to carotenoids. Carotenoids are the color pigments found in fruits and vegetables such as watermelons, tomatoes, pumpkins and carrots. Olive oil has also been found to protect the skin against the damaging effects of UV rays.

The Mediterranean Diet and Metabolic Syndrome

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The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet have been cited in numerous studies, and now with a new large study confirming that it protects from metabolic syndrome we have yet another reason to adopt this style of eating.

Dr. Antonis Pothoulakis, an interventional cardiologist at the Iasis Clinic in Chania, Crete told Olive Oil Times that the metabolic syndrome is a combination of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and high blood sugar. “Metabolic syndrome is connected to the obesity epidemic of our time, a big belly poisons our metabolism and a poisoned metabolism can result in type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, or sudden death,” he said.

The new study included data from almost 535,000 people, with the conclusion that a Mediterranean style diet, which includes consumption of monounsaturated fats mainly in the form of olive oil, daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, and low-fat dairy products, weekly consumption of fish, poultry, legumes, and a relatively low consumption of red meat, may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Explaining Why Virgin Olive Oil Protects Against Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in Western countries. Research carried out with animal models demonstrate that a diet rich in fats is directly related to the incidence of cancer. Some types of fats however can play a protective role against the development of these tumors. Such is the case of virgin olive oil, rich in oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid, and containing several bioactive compounds such as antioxidants. A moderate and regular intake of virgin olive oil, characteristic of the Mediterranean diet, is associated with low incidences of specific types of cancer, including breast cancer, as well as with having a protective role against coronary diseases and other health problems.

Western Wall in Jerusalem

Western Wall in Jerusalem

The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel (Hebrew: About this sound הַכֹּתֶל הַמַּעֲרָבִי (help·info), translit.: HaKotel HaMa’aravi; Ashkenazic pronunciation: Kosel; Arabic: حائط البراق‎, translit.: Ḥā’iṭ Al-Burāq, translat.: The Buraq Wall) is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple’s courtyard, and is arguably the most sacred site recognized by the Jewish faith outside of the Temple Mount itself. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, commonly believed to have been constructed around 19 BCE by Herod the Great, but recent excavations indicate that the works were not finished during Herod’s lifetime. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards. The Western Wall refers not only to the exposed section facing a large plaza in the Jewish Quarter, but also to the sections concealed behind structures running along the whole length of the Temple Mount, such as the Little Western Wall–a 25 ft (8 m) section in the Muslim Quarter.

It has been a site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries; the earliest source mentioning Jewish attachment to the site dates back to the 4th century. From the mid-19th century onwards, attempts to purchase rights to the wall and its immediate area were made by various Jews, but none was successful. With the rise of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century, the wall became a source of friction between the Jewish community and the Muslim religious leadership, who were worried that the wall was being used to further Jewish nationalistic claims to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. Outbreaks of violence at the foot of the wall became commonplace and an international commission was convened in 1930 to determine the rights and claims of Muslims and Jews in connection with the wall. After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the wall came under Jordanian control and Jews were barred from the site for 19 years until Israel captured the Old City in 1967 and three days later bulldozed the adjacent 770 year old Moroccan Quarter.[1]

The Mount of Olives – Jerusalem

The Mount of Olives - Jerusalem

“Mount Olivet” redirects here. For other uses, see Mount Olivet (disambiguation).

The Mount of Olives or Mount Olivet (Hebrew: הַר הַזֵּיתִים, Har HaZeitim; Arabic: جبل الزيتون, الطور‎, Jabal az-Zaytūn, Aț-Țūr) is a mountain ridge east of and adjacent to the Jerusalem’s Old City.[1] It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes. The southern part of the Mount was the necropolis of the ancient Judean kingdom.[2] The Mount is central to Jewish tradition since it has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds approximately 150,000 graves.[3] Several key events in the life of Jesus as related in the Gospels took place on the Mount of Olives, and in the Book of Acts it is described as the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven. Because of its association with both Jesus and Mary, the Mount has been a site of Christian worship since ancient times and is today a major site of Christian pilgrimage for Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians.