Guest blog: Elena Rayner-Melnikova & the story behind Golden Oils

One of the reasons why I started my blog several years ago was that I wanted to give spotlight to people and brands that might not be familiar to you, but you might want to know about. Today I want to introduce Elena Rayner-Melnikova, founder of Golden Oils, as well as share my opinion on two of Elena’s products with you.

Elena Rayner – Melnikova

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‘Moving house is considered stressful per se. What could I have expected from the experience of building a nest in what were, at the time, both a new country and culture for me, as a carefree youth?

Looking back, I still remember a type of heavy sensation in my head, something which would descend by the end of each day. Everything was new: the language, people, social rituals, customs, food, shops, roads and ways of life. Now that I have taken a course in neuroscience, I appreciate the deluge of information my brain was integrating on a daily basis. I was driven to make the best of not merely a living in a new country, but making Hampshire my true home.

A happy life is possible when you express yourself both professionally and personally. My Siberian roots and philosophy on life have led me on the journey which I’m on today. So, starting Golden Oils – to provide the best quality Siberian pine nut oil in the UK – was an obvious choice for me.

Golden Oils’ Siberian Cold Pressed Pine Nut Oil is 100% pure – free from preservatives, other added vegetable oils, artificial colouring and flavours. It is mechanically cold pressed from the kernels of Siberian pine trees, which grow naturally in remote and unpolluted regions of Siberia. Our cold pressing process preserves the nutritional value, mild woody taste and golden colour of the oil.

Throughout my childhood natural products were a way of life. I distinctly remember how my grandma would use ribwort leaves on my grazed knees, but now I also understand why their anti-inflammatory and astringent properties made them such an effective topical treatment. She also swore by bearberry infusions to treat our family’s coughs. Rumour has it that bearberry gets its name because the bright red berries are a favourite with bears! Either way, I appreciated the healing properties of plants from a very young age.

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“Nature itself is the best physician.” – Hippocrates

Back home in Siberia, pure pine nut oil is deemed to be ‘worthy of a Tsar’ and was another natural remedy my grandmother swore by when I developed an excruciatingly sore tummy. The cold pressed oil would calm the inflammation and bring natural relief, in the same manner as it would have for generations before me. It’s not coincidence when natural remedies work. They have been tried, tested and trusted for centuries.

Generations of people in Siberia and a growing number of customers, both in the UK and worldwide, use pine nut because of its soothing and natural healing properties:

– to relieve digestive disorders, including acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn, indigestion, peptic ulcers, gastritis and H. pylori;

– to support circulatory health;

– to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels;

– to trigger the release of hunger suppressing hormones, which gently help to regulate the appetite.

– to sooth skin problems.

– using it as a salad dressing or smoothie ingredient (it isn’t suitable for frying or cooking with, as the valuable nutrients are damaged by heat).

– a natural supplement to boost general wellbeing and energy levels.

WHAT SCIENCE SAYS ABOUT PINE NUT OIL

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I have the utmost respect for my ‘natural’ past, but also want to see pine nut oil receive the scientific praise it deserves. I was fortunate to be able to build on my background in biochemistry and complete my Master’s degree in Nutrition, upgrading my level of understanding of this extraordinary natural product.

I still keep close ties with my former tutors and lecturers at the University of Southampton, a research-intensive university and founding member of the Russell Group. They are the leaders in their fields and offer me the chance to learn about world-changing research as it happens.

In recent years many of the traditional uses of pine nut oil have been tested, using modern scientific methods. The results of latest research on active ingredients of the oil – pinolenic acid – were presented at the 12th Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in September this year.

A 2016 review on potential benefits of pine nut oil was also published in the Journal of Functional Foods. It concluded that pine nut oil and pinolenic acid have anti-inflammatory properties. In short, they suppress the production of pro-inflammatory molecules and activate the antioxidant protective enzymes. The review also pointed out further potential benefit of the pine nut oil in improving insulin sensitivity, lowering risk of cardiovascular disease, controlling appetite and reducing fat gain. These benefits would be researched in greater details in the future trials.

As you see, the research points to several areas of potential health application for the oil. In part, it is because at the roots of any health problem you find inflammation, therefore it makes sense that taking 1 tsp (5ml) of oil 15-30 minutes before meals, two-three times a day has been associated with long-lasting relief to people suffering with digestive disorders such as acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, peptic ulcers, gastritis, H. pylori and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

For many people, the over-the-counter treatment of these conditions seems to have unwanted side effects or do little to bring relief, yet often they aren’t aware of the available alternatives, which is why I’m passionate about raising awareness. I want people in pain to be able to make informed choices about their own course of treatment, so they can look forward to mealtimes and lead a normal, pain-free life.

How long you take Siberian Pine Nut Oil for, will depend on your individual circumstances. Traditionally, it is recommended to take it for at least one to three months. Golden Oils’ Siberian Cold Pressed Pine Nut Oil is available in 100ml and 250ml bottles, including value for money special offers. The same cold pressed natural oil is also available as Golden Oils’ Siberian Pine Nut Oil Capsules, in order to give you a choice of how you want to take it.

Quality of pine nut oil directly depends on its freshness and correct storage conditions. Valuable pinolenic acid breaks down with time or if the oil is kept even at room temperature for too long, therefore I ensure that the oil from Golden Oils is kept in cold storage and the oil is pressed from freshly de-shelled pine nuts. My recommendation to anyone who would like to try Siberian pine nut oil is to purchase from a responsible supplier who understands the intricacy of the product.

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What I do in the present, links me to my past. I love the fact that Golden Oils affords me an opportunity to maintain a strong connection with my birthplace and heritage. I also take pride in the fact that my cold-pressed oils are sourced solely from reputable suppliers in Siberia, whose fair-trade values and preservation of the fragile fatty acids are aligned with my own beliefs. Many people have shared their stories of using Siberian pine nut oil with me, so try your first bottle now & see what you think. I doubt it will be your last!

P.S. from Galina: I have tried the Golden Oil in the spring time and after tasting the first teaspoon, I was reminded of my early university days, when one of my fellow students would come back after his holidays back home in Siberia with huge pine nut cones, as presents for us, and we would try to sit at the back of lecture theatres and quietly eat the pine nuts, while the lecturers talked about politics, law, economics or philosophy. The wonderfully care-free days of youth that the taste of the oil brought back into my present, in a way testifies to the quality of the product.

As for Siberian Pine Nut Meal, which is finely ground pine nuts without the oil, it is a concentrated form of plant-based protein. I found it fairly enjoyable as part of my morning smoothie, when I want to have breakfast, but don’t have much time to prepare it for myself. Having said that, breakfast is an important meal for me, as it starts my day and even if I have to make it quickly, it needs to be delicious and nutritious, giving me a boost for the first few hours of the day that always tend to be quite busy.

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It is low in fat & high in nutrients, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron  and vitamin B1 (thiamine), so making a morning or afternoon smoothie with it (I find that it works well with oat or full-fat organic milk, but you can try mixing it up with rice or nut milks as well) is a good idea, I make it with warm milk in colder months, so my body feels cocooned and nurtured at the same time. Elena also recommends sprinkling it over porridge or muesli and I sometimes mix it up with my home-made butcher muesli or sprinkle it over Coyo, adding some fresh berries or grated apple or pear.

You can also use it when baking, adding sweet nutty taste to cakes, breads and biscuits – try adding it to banana bread, as I tend to do. All you need to do is substitute approximately 1/3 of a cup of flour for the Pine Nuts Meal in any regular recipe and taste the difference.

For more information about Golden oils and Elena’s blog, please click here

Categories: Beauty & well-being

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