The oil from olives has been praised for its health benefits, but one of the facts about olives is that they are just as healthy and just as loved as their oil. Olives are a bitter fruit native to the Mediterranean region, but now there are many places in the world that grow olives, which is fortunate considering how much people love them. If you are one of the many olive lovers, you will be interested in these facts about olives.
I mentioned olives are a bitter fruit. They are so bitter that one of the facts about olives is they must be cured before they can eaten. There are several different curing methods, and each method can change the flavor of the olive. Water-curing is one method that is used, and it involves soaking the olives in water for several weeks. Olives that are water-cured are much more bitter than olives that are brine-cured. Brine-curing consists of soaking the olives in a concentrated salt solution for months. This produces a saltier and less bitter olive. Other methods include lye-curing and dry salt-curing.
There are hundreds of varieties of olives that you can try. As you can imagine, they all have very different flavors, and they are all cured using different methods. For example, the popular Kalamata olives come from southern Greece. They have a rich fruity flavor and are brine-cured. Kalamata olives taste quite different from Sevillano olives from California. These olives are also brine-cured, but they have a crisp taste. Obviously, there are many more olives to choose from. So, go to your local olive bar and try some.
As good as olives taste, they are even better for your health. Olives have a phytonutrient called oleuropein, which acts as an antioxidant in the body by protecting nerve cells from oxidative damage. Oleuropein also decreases the oxidation caused by LDL cholesterol. Not that you needed an excuse to eat olives, but the antioxidant activity in olives is certainly a reason to eat them often.
Olives are 80 to 85 percent fat! That may seem like a lot of fat, but it is healthy fat. Three-quarters of the fat found in olives is oleic acid, which is a type of healthy monounsaturated fat. Olives also contain essential omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. While you don’t want too much fat in your diet, eating a bit of healthy fat, like the fats found in olives is important for your health.
Olives are a great anti-inflammatory food. They have been found to block histamines, which provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Olives also decrease pro-inflammatory molecules in the body, and the oleuropein in olives decreases enzyme activity associated with inflammation. If you are following an anti-inflammatory diet, don’t forget to include olives.
The antioxidants found in olives help prevent cancer. Specifically, they have been found to help prevent breast cancer and stomach cancer by interrupting the life cycle of cancer cells. In addition to interrupting the life-cycle of cancer cells, the antioxidants in olives also protect DNA from cancer causing oxidative damage.
While olives are a fantastic source of antioxidants and healthy fats, they are also a good source of other nutrients as well. Olives contain iron, copper, and vitamin E, which are nutrients you need to feel your best. Iron is especially important for having energy because it helps your blood transport oxygen to your cells!
If you love olives, you probably weren’t looking for any more reasons to eat them. However, knowing all the fantastic health benefits of olives, and knowing there are hundreds of varieties for you to try, might entice you to eat more olives! What variety of olive is your favorite?