London Holds Exhibition to Highlight Scythian Culture

Scythians with horses under a tree. Gold belt plaque. Siberia, 4th–3rd century BC. (The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017)
Scythians with horses under a tree. Gold belt plaque. Siberia, 4th–3rd century BC. (The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017)
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London Holds Exhibition to Highlight Scythian Culture

Scythians with horses under a tree. Gold belt plaque. Siberia, 4th–3rd century BC. (The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017)
Scythians with horses under a tree. Gold belt plaque. Siberia, 4th–3rd century BC. (The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017)

The Scythian people, predecessors of the Mongols, ruled a massive area of the Eurasian steppe located between Northern China and the Black Sea, between the ninth and the second century B.C. Little has been known about their culture, until now.

The “Scythians: Warriors of Ancient Siberia” exhibition was launched at the British Museum in London to change the people’s perception of this ancient culture.

Back then, people feared the Scythians, calling them “warriors on horseback”. They used to drink milk from the skulls of their enemies, tattoo themselves with charcoal and consume cannabis.

The Scythians, who spoke Persian, had no written language, so information about them comes from ancient Greeks, Assyrians and Persians.

The exhibition’s website reads: "For centuries, all traces of their culture was missing, and buried under the ice.”

The exhibition, which runs until January 14, wonders whether the civilization is the inspiration behind the famous "Game of Thrones" book and television series.

Most of the 200 pieces featured in the exhibition come from southern Siberia. Many of them are borrowed from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and are being exhibited outside of Russia for the first time.

The artifacts are are well preserved because they have been buried under ice in the burial hills and tombs of the Altai Mountains in Central Asia.

The exhibit includes pieces discovered at archaeological excavations during the rule of Russia’s Peter the Great in the early 18th century. They include the head of a chief from Scythian tribal, displaying his tattooed skin and glittering gold necklaces. Other pieces include embellished gold for men and women, pendants, leather shoes, and some well-preserved pieces of cheese.

According to the German News Agency (dpa), the exhibit also features engraved stone and massive sarcophagi.

The Scythians, predecessors of the Huns and Mongols, revered horses and relied on them in their wars. Horses, adorned with heavy embellishments, were often buried with their owners to accompany them in their afterlife.



UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid Crowns Four Arab Hope Makers

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum crowned the four Arab Hope Makers finalists, awarding them a financial reward of AED 1 million ($272,000) each. Asharq Al-Awsat
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum crowned the four Arab Hope Makers finalists, awarding them a financial reward of AED 1 million ($272,000) each. Asharq Al-Awsat
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UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid Crowns Four Arab Hope Makers

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum crowned the four Arab Hope Makers finalists, awarding them a financial reward of AED 1 million ($272,000) each. Asharq Al-Awsat
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum crowned the four Arab Hope Makers finalists, awarding them a financial reward of AED 1 million ($272,000) each. Asharq Al-Awsat

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, crowned the four Arab Hope Makers finalists, awarding them a financial reward of AED 1 million ($272,000) each.

Sheikh Mohammed awarded the title of the 4th season of the Arab Hope Makers, the largest initiative of its kind in the Arab region celebrating philanthropists, to Tala al-Khalil, who received the highest number of votes during the ceremony. He also directed that all four finalists be awarded the same title, including Mohamed al-Najjar from Iraq, Amine Imnir from Morocco and Fathiya al-Mahmoud from Egypt.

“In our part of the world, hope making is life making. The only way we can overcome challenges is through collaborative efforts. Hope for a better future is what keeps people going. Every new generation bears the responsibility of creating a better reality in their communities,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“Spreading despair is our major challenge, which is why we need to continue to nurture hope, optimism and positivity among the new generation,” he added.

Sheikh Mohammed awarded the top Arab Hope Makers title to Tala al-Khalil for her initiative to mentally support and heal children with Down Syndrome and cancer.

Mohmmad Al Gergawi, secretary general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), said the Hope Makers initiative reflects the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid of instilling the culture of giving across the Arab world, while celebrating those who launch life-changing initiatives that target communities and inspire the new generation to create a better future.

“The 4th season of Hope Makers unveiled a number of unique charity initiatives that serve Arab communities and help thousands of people around the world. More than 58,000 Arab hope makers have proved that our region enjoys a wealth of philanthropists, who renew our faith in our ability to become a global model of giving and philanthropy, regardless of color, race or religion,” he added.

Gergawi affirmed that the Hope Makers Initiative will continue to support voluntary work aiming to improve the quality of life across Arab communities, and to celebrate efforts serving vulnerable populations and alleviating their suffering, in line with MBRGI’s objectives of promoting a culture of hope and nurturing innovative ideas that can be transformed into sustainable projects in the Arab World.

The closing ceremony saw the participation of several Arab celebrities, including Ahlam, Hussain Al Jassmi and Assala, alongside artists and media personalities.

It also featured a new version of the ‘Arab Dream’ operetta, which was renewed by the Hope Makers Initiative, in collaboration with 12 artists including Ahlam, Majid al-Muhandis, Assala, Saber Rebai and Balqees.

Among the participations was the initiative of Iraqi Dr. Mohamed al-Najjar, 37, who lost his leg in 2014. He formed a football team of amputees, and worked with its players (aged between 14 and 40 years) to take part in many international, friendly games. The team qualified for the 2022 Amputee Football World Cup in Türkiye last October, won over Uruguay, Ireland and Germany, and lost three games. Thanks to these accomplishments, the Iraqi team now ranks 19th globally out of 70 amputee football teams.

From Morocco, Amine Imnir has recruited his social media accounts to improve living conditions for underprivileged Moroccans. He has led charitable campaigns and initiatives, and organized many relief campaigns to distribute aid to those in need in the country.

His AFTAS Society for Development and Solidarity distributed 800 sacrifices among poor families since 2020, dug 100 wells and provided over 1,000 solar panels, as well as more than 4,500 food parcels to underprivileged families including widows and orphans, funded 217 surgeries in 2023, and planted 2,800 fruitful trees.

Known as ‘the mother of orphans’ or ‘Mama Fathiya’, Egyptian hope maker Fathiya al-Mahmoud is an inspiring example of selfless giving and hope. Failing to have children of her own after 30 years of marriage, she decided to adopt 34 orphan girls. With the aid of her husband, they took care of raising, educating and nurturing the girls using their own savings.

The story of Iraqi pharmacist Tala al-Khalil started when a mother asked her for help to convince her child eat and take his treatment. This moment was a turning point in Tala’s life.

She launched her journey as a Hope Maker in 2015, when she started receiving young cancer patients in a special ‘caravan’ at the Basra Children’s Hospital to help them overcome challenges.

Offering much-needed psychological support to the children, Tala is a strong believer in the role of good mental health in enhancing immunity and the body’s ability to fight illness. She also used art to boost the immunity of children with cancer and Down Syndrome.

The Hope Makers Initiative welcomed over 300,000 Arab Hope Makers in four editions, which highlights a significant eagerness among Arabs for giving and hope nurturing.


What Would Happen if We Didn't Have Leap Years?

In a leap year, we add this extra day to the month of February, making it 29 days long instead of the usual 28
In a leap year, we add this extra day to the month of February, making it 29 days long instead of the usual 28
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What Would Happen if We Didn't Have Leap Years?

In a leap year, we add this extra day to the month of February, making it 29 days long instead of the usual 28
In a leap year, we add this extra day to the month of February, making it 29 days long instead of the usual 28

You may be used to hearing that it takes the Earth 365 days to make a full lap, but that journey actually lasts about 365 and a quarter day. Leap years help to keep the 12-month calendar matched up with Earth’s movement around the Sun. After four years, those leftover hours add up to a whole day.

In a leap year, we add this extra day to the month of February, making it 29 days long instead of the usual 28.

The idea of an annual catch-up dates back to ancient Rome, where people had a calendar with 355 days instead of 365 because it was based on cycles and phases of the Moon. They noticed that their calendar was getting out of sync with the seasons, so they began adding an extra month, which they called Mercedonius, every two years to catch up with the missing days.

In the year 45 B.C.E., Roman emperor Julius Caesar introduced a solar calendar, based on one developed in Egypt. Every four years, February received an extra day to keep the calendar in line with the Earth’s journey around the Sun.

In honor of Caesar, this system is still known as the Julian calendar. As time went on, people realized that the Earth’s journey wasn’t exactly 365.25 days – it actually took 365.24219 days, which is about 11 minutes less. So, adding a whole day every four years was actually a little more correction than was needed.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII signed an order that made a small adjustment. There would still be a leap year every four years, except in “century” years – years divisible by 100, like 1700 or 2100 – unless they were also divisible by 400.

It might sound a bit like a puzzle, but this adjustment made the calendar even more accurate – and from that point on, it was known as the Gregorian calendar, as reported by Science Alert and The Conversation.

What if we didn’t have leap years?

If the calendar didn’t make that small correction every four years, it would gradually fall out of alignment with the seasons. Over centuries, this could lead to the solstices and equinoxes occurring at different times than expected. Winter weather might develop in what the calendar showed as summer, and farmers could become confused about when to plant their seeds.

Without leap years, our calendar would gradually become disconnected from the seasons. Other calendars around the world have their own ways of keeping time. The Jewish calendar, which is regulated by both the Moon and the Sun, is like a big puzzle with a 19-year cycle. Every now and then, it adds a leap month to make sure that special celebrations happen at just the right time. The Islamic calendar is even more unique. It follows the phases of the Moon and doesn’t add extra days. Since a lunar year is only about 355 days long, key dates on the Islamic calendar move 10 to 11 days earlier each year on the solar calendar. For example, Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, falls in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. In 2024, it will run from March 11 to April 9; in 2025, it will occur from March 1-29; and in 2026, it will be celebrated from February 18 to March 19.

Learning from the planets

Astronomy originated as a way to make sense of our daily lives, linking the events around us to celestial phenomena.

The concept of leap years exemplifies how humans have existed. Some ancient methods, such as astrometry and lists of astronomical objects, persist even today, revealing the timeless essence of our quest to understand nature. People who do research in physics and astronomy are inherently curious about the workings of the universe and our origins. In the grand scheme, our lives occupy a mere second in the vast expanse of space and time – even in leap years when we add that extra day.


Cinnamon Frog Species in Perilous State Successfully Bred in UK

A tree frog at London Zoo in January 2012. Reuters file photo
A tree frog at London Zoo in January 2012. Reuters file photo
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Cinnamon Frog Species in Perilous State Successfully Bred in UK

A tree frog at London Zoo in January 2012. Reuters file photo
A tree frog at London Zoo in January 2012. Reuters file photo

A frog species that is in a “perilous state” due to an infectious disease has been successfully bred at a wildlife park in Oxfordshire, according to The Guardian.

Keepers at the Cotswold wildlife park in Burford have again bred the near-threatened cinnamon frog, four years after it became only the second zoological collection in Europe to breed the species.

Reptile keepers have paid homage to the name and called the froglets after different colored spices including paprika, cayenne, saffron, chipotle and chilly, and they are being looked after in a specialist amphibian breeding room.

Jamie Craig, general manager of Cotswold wildlife park, said the species is in a “perilous state” due to the chytrid fungus, an infectious disease in frogs.

“Our dedicated reptile team have been working hard to perfect breeding techniques in our Amphibian Room,” he said.

“Many frog species have incredibly specific requirements, and it is a testament to their hard work that they have now managed to replicate our previous success with the cinnamon frogs,” he added.

“With the perilous state of many amphibian species in the world due to the Chytrid fungus, any expertise garnered from the captive populations may well be important tools for the future of these fascinating creatures,” Craig explained.

Only five other zoos in Europe keep the species with one other successfully breeding the frogs in the last 12 months, according to the wildlife park.


Riyadh to Host First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in March 

Saudi Arabia's National Center for Meteorology (NCM) will host the First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in Riyadh from March 4 to 6. 
Saudi Arabia's National Center for Meteorology (NCM) will host the First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in Riyadh from March 4 to 6. 
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Riyadh to Host First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in March 

Saudi Arabia's National Center for Meteorology (NCM) will host the First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in Riyadh from March 4 to 6. 
Saudi Arabia's National Center for Meteorology (NCM) will host the First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in Riyadh from March 4 to 6. 

Saudi Arabia's National Center for Meteorology (NCM) will host the First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in Riyadh from March 4 to 6.

The event, organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Sand and Dust Storm Warning Regional Center and expected to draw wide international participation, aims to address the growing global challenge posed by dust and sand storms.

Over 200 researchers, experts, and specialists from around the world, including WMO representatives, will gather to share the latest advancements in dust and sand storm research.

The conference is slated to discuss a wide range of critical topics, including sources of dust aerosol formation, dust-climate interactions, health impacts and mitigation strategies, monitoring and predictive modeling, and economic, infrastructural, and environmental consequences of dust storms on various sectors.

The conference will underscore the urgent need to combat dust and sand storms in view of their significant impact on the environment, public health, and economies.

Such storms can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, disrupt solar energy production, degrade air quality, alter weather patterns, and disrupt biogeochemical cycles. International and regional initiatives have been taken to study these impacts and come up with mitigating strategies.

The Middle East, with its vast arid and semi-arid landscape, is a major source of dust particles. The increasing frequency and intensity of dust storms in the region, attributed to changes in land use and vegetation cover degradation, needs further comprehensive research to fully understand their far-reaching effects.

The international conference serves as a crucial platform where scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders from around the world can exchange knowledge and collaborate, paving the way for a more coordinated and effective approach to tackling the global challenge of dust and sand storms.


Algeria's President Inaugurates Africa's Largest Mosque

The Djamaa El-Djazair, or Algiers Great Mosque, is seen Wednesday, Feb.21, 2024 in Algiers. (AP)
The Djamaa El-Djazair, or Algiers Great Mosque, is seen Wednesday, Feb.21, 2024 in Algiers. (AP)
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Algeria's President Inaugurates Africa's Largest Mosque

The Djamaa El-Djazair, or Algiers Great Mosque, is seen Wednesday, Feb.21, 2024 in Algiers. (AP)
The Djamaa El-Djazair, or Algiers Great Mosque, is seen Wednesday, Feb.21, 2024 in Algiers. (AP)

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune officially inaugurated the Grand Mosque of Algiers, the third largest in the world and the biggest in Africa, on Sunday.

The vast mosque, which can hold 120,000 worshippers, first opened for prayers in October 2020, but Tebboune was suffering from Covid-19 and did not attend.

Known locally as the Djamaa El-Djazair, the modernist structure extends across 27.75 hectares (almost 70 acres).

It boasts the world's tallest minaret -- 267 metres (875 feet) -- fitted with elevators and a viewing platform that looks out over the capital and the Bay of Algiers.

The mosque's interior, in Andalusian style, is decorated in wood, marble and alabaster.

The mega-project cost more than $800 million dollars and took seven years to build, according to AFP.

Tebboune's mandate officially expires at the end of this year but the president, elected in December 2019, has not yet made known whether he intends to run for a second term.


Watch Melted by Hiroshima Bomb Auctioned for $31,000

This photo provided by RR Auction shows a watch melted during the Aug.6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. The watch is frozen in time at the moment of detonation of the atomic bomb over the city during the closing days of World War ll, sold at auction Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 for more than $31,000. Nikki Brickett - handout one time use, ASSOCIATED PRESS
This photo provided by RR Auction shows a watch melted during the Aug.6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. The watch is frozen in time at the moment of detonation of the atomic bomb over the city during the closing days of World War ll, sold at auction Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 for more than $31,000. Nikki Brickett - handout one time use, ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Watch Melted by Hiroshima Bomb Auctioned for $31,000

This photo provided by RR Auction shows a watch melted during the Aug.6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. The watch is frozen in time at the moment of detonation of the atomic bomb over the city during the closing days of World War ll, sold at auction Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 for more than $31,000. Nikki Brickett - handout one time use, ASSOCIATED PRESS
This photo provided by RR Auction shows a watch melted during the Aug.6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. The watch is frozen in time at the moment of detonation of the atomic bomb over the city during the closing days of World War ll, sold at auction Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 for more than $31,000. Nikki Brickett - handout one time use, ASSOCIATED PRESS

A watch melted during the August 6, 1945, bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, has sold for more than $31,000 at auction. The watch is frozen in time at the moment of the detonation of an atomic bomb over the Japanese city — 8:15 a.m. — during the closing days of World War II, according to Boston-based RR Auction. The winning bid in the auction that ended Thursday was $31,113, reported the Associated Press (AP). The artifact was recovered from the ruins of Hiroshima and offers a glimpse into the immense destruction of the first atomic bomb detonated over a city.

The small brass-tone watch, a rare survivor from the blast zone, was auctioned alongside other historically significant items. Despite the cloudiness of the crystal caused by the blast, the watch’s hands remain halted at 8:15 a.m. — the moment when the B-29 Enola Gay dropped the “Little Boy” atomic bomb. The auction house said that according to the item’s consignor, a British soldier retrieved the wristwatch from the ruins of the city while on a mission to provide emergency supplies and assess post-conflict reconstruction needs. “It is our fervent hope that this museum-quality piece will stand as a poignant educational symbol, serving to not only remind us of the tolls of war but also to underscore the profound, destructive capabilities that humanity must strive to avoid. This wristwatch, for instance, marks the exact moment in time when history changed forever,” said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction. The winning bidder opted to remain anonymous. Other items featured in the auction included a signed copy of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s ‘The Little Red Book’, which sold for $250,000; a signed check from George Washington — one of two known checks signed as president to ever come to market — which sold for $135,473; and Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 Lunar Module Prep Checklist, which sold for $76,533.


France’s César Awards Honors Two Tunisians Women

Canadian-Tunisian Filmmaker Monia Chokri won the César Award for Best Foreign Film, for her feature ‘Simple comme Sylvain’. (AP)
Canadian-Tunisian Filmmaker Monia Chokri won the César Award for Best Foreign Film, for her feature ‘Simple comme Sylvain’. (AP)
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France’s César Awards Honors Two Tunisians Women

Canadian-Tunisian Filmmaker Monia Chokri won the César Award for Best Foreign Film, for her feature ‘Simple comme Sylvain’. (AP)
Canadian-Tunisian Filmmaker Monia Chokri won the César Award for Best Foreign Film, for her feature ‘Simple comme Sylvain’. (AP)

The prestigious Olympia of Paris hosted the 45th edition of the César Awards, which honors achievers in all the sectors of the French cinema, on Friday, February 24. Among tens of international celebrities, the accomplishments of two Arab women were celebrated at the highly-anticipated European event.

Kaouther Ben Hania won the Best Documentary Award for her documentary "Four Daughters" (Les Filles d’Olfa). The work was screened in several festivals and was nominated for the Oscars.

Born in Sidi Bouzid, in 1977, the Tunisian filmmaker studied at the School of Art and Cinema in Tunisia, has several documentaries, took part in a feature film writing workshop funded by Euromed, and collaborated with Al Jazeera Documentary. Kaouther Ben Hania took advantage of her Olympia appearance to raise her voice and angrily call for stopping the children killing in Gaza. “What’s happening there is so horrible. No one can say, ‘I didn’t know.’ This is the first massacre on live stream, live on our telephones,” she said in her speech.

Also, Quebecois-Tunisian Filmmaker Monia Chokri won the César Award for Best Foreign Film, for her feature ‘Simple comme Sylvain’. It tells the story of Sophie, a university professor who lived a peaceful life with her husband, Xavier, until she met Sylvain, the maintenance worker who came to restore their summer house.

Monia was born in Québec, in 1982, to two leftist parents. She studied acting at the Conservatoire d'art dramatique de Montréal. She played many roles in cinema and theater, before directing her first award-winning short film "An Extraordinary Person" in 2013. In 2019, she won the "Un Certain Regard Jury's Coup de Cœur Award" at the Cannes Film Festival.

This year, the participants at the César Awards raised their voice to denounce the silence in face of the sexual harassment that young actresses, filmmakers and producers have been subjected to in the industry. French director Justine Triet's "Anatomy of A Fall" won six trophies, including the Best Film Award at the César festival. The film has already received Cannes’ Palme D’Or last year and has been nominated for the forthcoming edition of the Oscars.


Saudi Electronic University Signs MoU with the University of Strathclyde

Saudi Electronic University Signs MoU with the University of Strathclyde
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Saudi Electronic University Signs MoU with the University of Strathclyde

Saudi Electronic University Signs MoU with the University of Strathclyde

President of the Saudi Electronic University (SEU), Dr. Mohammed Mardi, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Strathclyde in Scotland.

The MoU aims to strengthen cooperation in the fields of research and postgraduate programs by establishing the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, exchanging scientific and academic expertise, and supporting student exchange, SPA reported.

Dr. Mardi noted that this MoU consolidates the university's keenness to strengthen international partnerships with global universities according to strategic directions.

He also said it aims to exchange experiences in all aspects that serve the development of the academic, research, and community fields at the university in a way that ensures excellence, quality, and academic and institutional efficiency.

The MoU comes within the framework of SEU's delegation tour of several UK universities to discuss strengthening partnerships, enhancing international partnerships, and contributing to the exchange of knowledge and expertise on a global level.


Saudi Space Agency Launches Competition for Students in Arab World

The Saudi Space Agency (SSA)
The Saudi Space Agency (SSA)
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Saudi Space Agency Launches Competition for Students in Arab World

The Saudi Space Agency (SSA)
The Saudi Space Agency (SSA)

The Saudi Space Agency (SSA), in cooperation with Misk Foundation and the Ilmi Science Discovery & Innovation Center, launched on Sunday the Madak competition for students in the Arab world with the aim of increasing the Arab contribution to the field of space science.
The competition has three tracks: arts, botany and engineering. It will be supervised by Saudi astronaut Rayana Barnawi, the first Arab Muslim astronaut who conducted 14 experiments aboard the International Space Station.
SSA CEO Mohammed Altamimi said that the competition is open for all students in the Arab world, enabling them to explore a new horizon in space science and enhance their scientific and innovative skills, to enrich the space arena with pioneering contributions.
He added that Saudi Arabia, a leader in the space field, reaffirms its commitment to stimulating creativity and excellence in this domain, regionally and internationally.
According to Barnawi, this competition represents a “unique opportunity for students in the Arab world to participate in a journey of discovery and innovation”, and is bound to expand the horizons of young and ambitious generations, and stimulate their creativity.


The Magic of Olive Oil, Fish, and Other Healthy Fats

Olive oil is the basis of the Mediterranean diet. (Shutterstock)
Olive oil is the basis of the Mediterranean diet. (Shutterstock)
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The Magic of Olive Oil, Fish, and Other Healthy Fats

Olive oil is the basis of the Mediterranean diet. (Shutterstock)
Olive oil is the basis of the Mediterranean diet. (Shutterstock)

By Alice Callahan

The Mediterranean diet isn’t like other diets. To begin with, it’s more of a style of eating than a strict regimen. And adopting it doesn’t involve many of the sacrifices people associate with healthy eating.

Compared with other wholesome diets, for example, the Mediterranean diet is relatively high in fat. Federal health officials recommend that 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories come from fat — while that number can be around 30 to 40 percent in the Mediterranean diet.

Yet in clinical trials, people who followed the Mediterranean diet had lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who followed a low-fat diet.

That’s probably because the Mediterranean diet emphasizes heart-healthy fats from sources like olive oil, fish, whole grains, and nuts and seeds. And it includes less saturated fat than the typical American diet, because it discourages butter and red and processed meats and includes only moderate amounts of cheese, yogurt, poultry and eggs.

Researchers believe that olive oil, the preferred fat source in the Mediterranean diet, may be one of the main contributors to its health benefits. It’s rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent damage to your cells and blood vessels.

In a 2022 study of more than 90,000 U.S. adults spanning 28 years, for instance, those who consumed at least half a tablespoon of olive oil each day were significantly less likely to die of cancer or cardiovascular, neurodegenerative or respiratory diseases than those who rarely or never consumed it.

Fish also features prominently in the Mediterranean diet, especially fatty varieties like salmon, tuna, anchovies and sardines. These are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation and blood pressure. Most Mediterranean diet guidelines recommend at least two servings of fish per week.

But let’s not give olive oil and fish all of the credit. Whole grains, nuts, seeds and olives also contribute to the diet’s healthy fats. And though they’re not native to the Mediterranean region, avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats and are often included in modern versions of the diet.

How to cook with healthy fats

For each day of our Mediterranean diet series, we and our colleagues at NYT Cooking have picked a few recipes that embrace the ingredients we’re highlighting. This is not intended to be a meal plan for a day, but rather inspiration for how to include more of these healthful foods in your week.

For breakfast, you might smash some avocado onto whole-grain toast and top it with a drizzle of olive oil. In this recipe from Julia Moskin and Giles Russell, optional garnishes like fresh herbs, pickled red onions and pumpkin or sesame seeds take avocado toast to the next level.

Craig Claiborne’s classic tuna salad sandwich is a quick, budget-friendly lunch option — but if you’re looking for something more “intense and pronounced,” try Ali Slagle’s sardine salad on a whole-wheat bagel, over greens or between two slices of whole-grain toast. Anchovies are also a flavorful addition to salad dressing, as in David Tanis’s vibrant radicchio-anchovy salad.

For dinner, try Alison Roman’s slow-roasted citrus salmon with herb salad (ready in 35 minutes) or Mark Bittman’s grilled tuna with herbs and olives (ready in 20). And let’s not forget about tinned and jarred fish.

The New York Times