Olives are one of the oldest and healthiest foods known to man. They were grown widely, traded and eaten in the ancient Mediterranean, and stone mortars and presses used for olive oil extraction date as far back as 5000 BC! The wood from the trees were used for fuel and construction, and the olive fruit and oil remain one of the oldest medicines known to man (it is, indeed, a fruit).
Here's 10 reasons why you should eating more of them:
Oleic acid comprises of 75% of the fat in olives. It is a monounsaturated fat that helps to lower blood cholesterol levels, promote the development of bones and marrow, maintain balance in the metabolism and prevent oxidization. This is a great fat to introduce into your diet and is liquid at room temperature.
1 cup of black olives provides 38% of your daily value of copper. Copper is central to building strong tissue, maintaining blood volume, and producing energy in your cells. It is required to manufacture collagen, a major structural protein in the body, and functions as a co-factor in the formation of the anti-oxidizing enzyme "superoxide dismutase."
That same cup of black olives will provide you with 1/4 of your daily iron requirement (Olives are the most iron-rich fruit in the world). Iron is contained in hemoglobin, which exists within the red blood cells in your body. It is extremely important in the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. It is also magnetic. If you've ever wondered how the magnetic field produced by your body directly relates to your biological health, think about that iron moving around.
When replacing saturated fats, olive oil has shown to reduce insulin insensitivity and help break down fat inside of fat cells. The aroma extracts in olive oil have also been known to leave people feeling more full.
In addition to the abundance of anti-oxidants and anti-inflamitory acids, olives contain squalene and terpenoid, two compounds that work to neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals on the body’s cells.
Olive oil contains biophenols, which reduce blood pressure and supress the synthesis of LDLs (Low-density lipoproteins). LDLs are known as "bad cholesterol" and the biophenols help prevent them from hardening the arterial walls (which could, otherwise, lead to atherosclerosis).
A compound within olives, called oleocanthal, has notable anti-inflamitory properties resembling those of ibuprofen. Though structurally dissimilar to ibuprofen, they both inhibit an enzyme called cyclooxygenase and help prevent inflamation.
Helicobacter pylori is a stomach ulcer inducing bacteria found in gastric acid and has developed some resistance to anti-biotics throughout the world. In-vitro studies have shown that some phenols from olive oil can destroy 8 strains of H. pylori and may be a legitimate chemopreventive agent for peptic ulcers or gastric cancer.
The nutrient rich olive is full of hugely beneficial vitamins that help improve vision, digestion, skin and hair health and the list goes on.
Olives taste awesome. Yes, this is an opinion. Cured olives go great on anything from pizza, to martinis, to salads and sandwiches, to breads. Their mild, yet pungent deliciousness permeates cultures and restaraunts around the world. Hopefully, you have a jar in your refrigerator right now. I ate 3 of them earlier while I was writing this article and I'm about to eat more.
So, go out and get a bottle of olive oil and another jar of olives. Treat yourself to one of the greatest foods in the world often, and share the knowlege of their health benefits, as well as their flavors, with your family and friends!