Olives are almost not as popular as their oil counterpart, but this does not mean they are not widely enjoyed. They are very bitter on their own, so they are not usually consumed right off the tree, which is why there are several methods to process them. These include water curing, lye curing, and brine curing – each with its own effect on composition and color of the olives.
While olive oil is known as a very healthy type of oil, its whole food equivalent also comes with several health benefits. Among them include the following:
Olives have a phytonutrient known as hydroxytyrosol which has been linked to fighting cancer. The same phytonutrient has been studied and it was discovered that it can also help prevent bone loss. If you are at risk of osteoporosis, you can add some olives to your diet.
Both olive and olive oil contain fats that are considered healthy in the form of monounsaturated fats. These fats are needed by the body in order to achieve good health and you are required to have about 30% of monounsaturated fats to your daily diet. When you consume olives that are rich in these fats, they can help you lower the bad type of cholesterol in your body while raising the beneficial type of cholesterol. Plus, they can prevent heart disease and stroke.
Traditionally, olives are used in herbal medicine practices, along with their leaves. They are used to treat inflammatory problems, including inflammation that is caused by allergies. Research has shown that olives have phytochemicals that can fight chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Oleocanthal is a phytochemical compound found in olives that has the ability to stop the body from creating inflammatory enzymes. This ability can be compared to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, helping you feel less pain and sensitivity.
Also, olive extracts have been discovered to have antihistamines that work at a cellular level. This means that special histamine receptors, known as H1 receptors, are blocked by olive extracts, therefore lessening the histamine response of a cell. This becomes a very effective way of reducing allergy-related symptoms and conditions that can also decrease inflammatory processes.
Olives are also rich in antioxidants that promote a healthy body. They prevent oxidative stress in which the cells become weaker due to oxygen damage. Olives have the antioxidant vitamin E, along with minerals such as zinc and selenium.
With these benefits, it is no wonder that olives are among the best foods you can consume for good health.