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Discover The Amazing Benefits Of Eating Olives

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Discover The Amazing Benefits Of Eating Olives

If you are wondering why the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world, it is mainly because of olives and olive oil which are loaded with antioxidants. While black kalamata olives from Greece is by far the best variety, thanks to the phenolic compound hydroxytyrosol in it, Spanish green olives are equally good for health. Regular consumption of olives can keep cancer and diabetes at bay. It can also make your heart healthier and skin younger.

If you love feasting on olives and add them to your pizzas, pasta, and sandwiches, you are doing your body a big favor by consuming one of the best disease-fighting antioxidant-loaded foods in existence! This wonder fruit (yes, it’s technically a fruit) originated in the Mediterranean region of Europe where it grows abundantly. It also grows in certain regions of Asia, America, and Africa. The trees of the olive fruit are said to live for hundreds of years.

The green and black olives we get access to at supermarkets, farmers markets, and olive bars are not picked straight from the tree and served to us. With a few exceptions, most varieties of raw olives are not edible as the fruit is bitter. The olives we consume first need to be processed so that they can become edible. Different types of curing processes are used to do so, which vary according to the region of production.1

Green Or Black: Which Olive Is Better?

So what’s the difference between black and green olives? Olives typically come in hues of green, purple-black, and black. Many black olives actually start out as green and turn black during the stages of processing.

The delicious kalamata olives from Greece are naturally black and stay black. There are many health benefits of kalamata olives as they have high levels of hydroxytyrosol.2
Hydroxytyrosol is a phenolic compound found only in the olive fruit, leaf, and oil. It reduces the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular ailments, cancer, and even AIDS.3

Health benefits of green olives depend on the variety. For instance, Spanish-style green olives also have high hydroxytyrosol levels.4 But Italy’s popular castelvetrano-style green olives have shown low values of total phenols.5

What Are The Benefits Of Eating Olives?

Scores of epidemiologic studies have concluded that the people of the Mediterranean region enjoy a healthy lifestyle with decreased incidence of degenerative diseases. Populations within Europe that consume the Mediterranean diet are found to have lower incidences of major illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are mainly attributed to a high intake of fiber, fish, fruits and vegetables. Recent research, however, points to another important factor that makes this diet healthy–olives and olive oil.6

1. Cancer Preventing Champ

Olives keep cancer at bay as they contain up to 16 grams per kilo of important cancer-fighting agents like acteoside, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, and phenyl propionic acids. Both olives and olive oil contain considerable amounts of other compounds regarded to be anticancer agents such as squalene and terpenoids, as well as the peroxidation-resistant lipid oleic acid.7

2. Heart Healthy

Though almost two-thirds of olives are pure fat, it mainly comprises oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat known for lowering the risk of heart disease and LDL (bad) cholesterol. The health benefits of olives include a healthy ticker and cholesterol levels. Simply put, it’s the good fat your doctor keeps telling you about.

According to a study on myocardial infarction patients, the group that consumed significantly less lipids, saturated fat, cholesterol, and linoleic acid but more oleic and alpha-linolenic acids emerged a clear winner. Such a diet was concluded to be more efficient than presently used prudent diets for such patients in the secondary prevention of coronary events and death.8

3. A Boon For Diabetics

Traditional Arab medicine, which uses a lot of olive leaves, were effective in controlling blood glucose in patients with diabetes. According to a study, olive leaves suppressed the rise of blood glucose after oral administration of starch in borderline volunteers. The health benefits of olive leaf extract have also been studied in diabetic animals which have shown a substantial reduction in blood glucose as well as cholesterol levels.9

4. Anti-Ageing Superstar

One of the many benefits of olives is ageless skin and hair. Like most antioxidant-rich foods, olives also fight free radical damage. The elements of olive such as oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and squalene have exhibited a role in skin protection against UV light and radiation. Olive leaf extracts also show preventative effects against chronic UVB-induced skin damage.10

The hydroxytyrosol in olives, which is even present in high quantities in olive mill wastewaters, is water and oil soluble. It has great potential for the cosmetics industry and can be useful for emulsions or systems containing both water and oil phases.11

But till the industry realizes it, you can feast on olives for youthful skin and hair to give them an antioxidant boost.

References   [ + ]

1. Boskou, D., G. Blekas, and M. Tsimidou. “Phenolic compounds in olive oil and olives.” Curr. Top. Nutraceutical Res 3 (2005): 125-136.
2, 4. Blekas, Georgios, Constantinos Vassilakis, Constantinos Harizanis, Maria Tsimidou, and Dimitrios G. Boskou. “Biophenols in table olives.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 50, no. 13 (2002): 3688-3692.
3. Vilaplana-Pérez, Cristina, David Auñón, Libia A. García-Flores, and Angel Gil-Izquierdo. “Hydroxytyrosol and potential uses in cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and AIDS.” Frontiers in nutrition 1 (2014).
5. Boskou, Dimitrios, Salvatore Camposeo, and Maria Lisa Clodoveo. “Table olives as sources of bioactive compounds.” Olive and Olive Oil Bioactive Constituents (2015): 179-215.
6, 7. Owen, R. W., R. Haubner, G. Würtele, W. E. Hull, Bartsh Spiegelhalder, and H. Bartsch. “Olives and olive oil in cancer prevention.” European Journal of Cancer Prevention 13, no. 4 (2004): 319-326.
8. De Lorgeril, Michel, Serge Renaud, P. Salen, I. Monjaud, N. Mamelle, J. L. Martin, Jeannine Guidollet, Paul Touboul, and Jacques Delaye. “Mediterranean alpha-linolenic acid-rich diet in secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.” The Lancet 343, no. 8911 (1994): 1454-1459.
9. Rahmani, Arshad H., Aqel S. Albutti, and Salah M. Aly. “Therapeutics role of olive fruits/oil in the prevention of diseases via modulation of anti-oxidant, anti-tumour and genetic activity.” International journal of clinical and experimental medicine 7, no. 4 (2014): 799-808.
10. Rahmani, Arshad H., Aqel S. Albutti, and Salah M. Aly. “Therapeutics role of olive fruits/oil in the prevention of diseases via modulation of antioxidant, antitumour and genetic activity.” International journal of clinical and experimental medicine 7, no. 4 (2014): 799-808.
11. Boskou, D., and F. Visioli. “Biophenols in olive oil and olives.” Bioavailability of micronutrients and minor dietary compounds. Metabolic and technological aspects (2003): 161-169.