Olives are a tasty add-on to your pizza but have you wondered what these tiny fruits carry within themselves? They are full of healthy nutrients that impart several positive impacts on human health. If you don’t know them, you have just landed at the right place. Let’s get started
What are Olives?
Olives are small oval fruits of the tree “Olea Europaea”. These are related to mangoes, cherries, peaches, almonds, and pistachios, as they belong to a group, called Drupes or stone fruits. Olives are great antioxidants and are used to extract oil which is extremely advantageous in maintaining the healthy cholesterol level within the body. Now in the modern age, people are opting more and more for olive oil as this gives shape to their bodies by cholesterol and fat levels of the body. It is used in preparing various dishes like salads, sandwiches, and tapenades.
Olives are generally bitter in taste when raw as can be eaten only when processed i-e cured or pickled. Olives are usually preserved so that they can be used and enjoyed with meals. Green olives turn black when fully ripen but some remain green even when completely ripe.
History of Olives
The evidence of olives is dated back to 20-40 million years ago. Its first plant was cultivated in the Mediterranean region about 700 years ago. At the start, it was not considered edible, but later about 5000-6000 years ago, its edible properties were discovered. Later, Spanish colonists were the ones that brought olives to the new world. In Spain, the first seedling of olive was planted in 1560. Then its cultivation spread across the world in the regions which have a similar climate as that of Mediterranean regions.
In the modern world, olive trees are grown in Peru, Chile, and Argentina. According to estimation, there are 865 million olive trees all around the world and the majority of these trees are in Mediterranean countries.
Nutritional Facts Of Olive
The below mentioned nutritional facts are for 100 gm of canned olives
The fat content in the olives is further divided into 3 categories:
|Saturated fats||1.42 gm|
|Monosaturated fats||7.89 gm|
|Polysaturated fats||0.91 gm|
RDA For Olives
All around the world, olives are generally used to extract oil from it and people prefer to use olive oil rather than olives themselves. The RDAs for olive oil in different health conditions are as follows:
For heart diseases: 4 tablespoons per day
For diabetes: 15-20 gm per day
For constipation: 30 ml of olive oil
For high blood pressure: 30 – 40 gm per day of extra virgin olive oil
Benefits of Olives
As olives are amazingly healthy food, it has numerous advantages which help maintain the body’s health. Let’s peep into these benefits
1. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is the main cause of many diseases, which include rheumatoid, arthritis, and psoriasis. Chronic inflammation causes these diseases along with other health problems like heart issues or cancer. As olives are the best source of antioxidants that greatly reduce this chronic inflammation within the body. The polyphenols present in olives prevent chronic inflammation by putting a stop to organ tissue damage. Olives have 2 types of antioxidants called Hydroxytyrosol and Oleanolic acid which are extremely effective in diminishing inflammation. Oleanolic acid not just eliminates inflammation but also promotes liver health and maintain fat levels.
2. Controlled Cholesterol and Healthy Heart
As olives are low in cholesterol level, they are a great help in reducing the cholesterol level of the body which directly reduces the risk of many heart-related diseases. A fatty acid called oleic acid is present in olive is associated with the health of the heart. This important fatty acid is crucial in maintaining the cholesterol level and also protects our hearts and bodies from bad cholesterols (LDL). A study has shown that olives are also responsible for reducing blood pressure. The powerful antioxidant called polyphenols in olives, greatly shield our body from any oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Many studies have suggested that those who consume olives on daily basis have lower heart attack risk, cardiovascular mortality, and high blood pressure.
3. Beneficial for Bones
Decreased bone mass and poor bone quality are the main reasons for osteoporosis which increases the risk of fractures, A small study carried out on people living in Mediterranean countries and who are consuming olives in their daily diets, revealed that they are less likely to suffer from osteoporosis as olives are supreme protection against bone mass loss. This reduces the risks of fractures.
4. Protection against Cancer
Because of high antioxidative properties and oleic acid content, olives are considered to be prime protection against cancer. Studies have suggested that people living in Mediterranean regions, consume olives, and have a lower risk of developing cancers, as compared to the people living in Western countries. The compounds found in olives break the life cycle of cancer cells in the breast, colon, and stomach.
5. Aids in Nutrient Absorption
Different vegetables and fruits when eaten with dietary fats are absorbed perfectly within the body. In the same way, fatty acids present in olives are highly helpful in absorbing nutrients available in different fruits and vegetables. When a tablespoon of olive oil is added to salads or drizzled over various dips, it enhances the intake of carotenoids, which are advantageous for the eyes and eliminates risks of long term diseases.
Olives are mostly well tolerated by people but some people might experience the following side effects
- Allergies in the mouth or throat.
- Olives may contain metals like boron, sulfur, and lithium which might be harmful to people when consumed in large amounts. As the level of these metals is very low, they are less likely to be potentially hazardous for anyone.
After viewing the above article, we can say that olives are a great savory and delicious addition to our diets. These are amazingly low in carbs and high in healthy fatty acids that are linked to the healthy functioning of different body organs especially the heart. But apart from all these benefits, one must consume them in moderate amounts to prevent any risk of allergies or other health-related problems.