Even though more attention is usually given to their delicious oil than the whole food itself, olives are one of the world’s most widely enjoyed fruits. Yes, they are fruits even though most of us think of them as zesty vegetables. Here are 10 reasons why you should be eating these little delicacies every day.
2. Weight Loss: It appears that monounsaturated fats, the kind found in olives, when replacing saturated fats, may encourage weight loss. Olive oil consumption has been shown to breakdown fats inside fat cells, get rid of belly fat and reduce insulin insensitivity.People who have the highest olive consumption eat fewer calories overall and are rarely overweight. Blood tests show they have higher levels of serotonin, a so-called satiety hormone that makes us feel full.The aroma extracts from olive oil can leave us feeling fuller, cutting our calorie intake by almost 200 a day, they said.
3. Cancer Prevention: The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of olives make them a natural for protection against cancer because chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can be key factors in the development of cancer. If our cells get overwhelmed by oxidative stress (damage to cell structure and cell function by overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules) and chronic excessive inflammation, our risk of cell cancer is increased. By providing us with rich supplies of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, olives can help us avoid this dangerous combination of chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Black olives are a great source of vitamin E, which has the brilliant ability to neutralize free radicals in body fat. Especially when working with the stable monounsaturated fats found in olives, vitamin E can make cellular processes safer. When such processes such as mitochondrial energy production are not well protected, the free radicals produced can cause oxidation, damaging a cell’s mitochondria, and preventing the cell from producing enough energy to supply its needs. If the DNA of a cell is damaged, it may well mutate and become cancerous. Studies have shown that a diet supplemented with olive oil leads to a lower risk of colon cancer, almost as low a risk as a diet rich in fish oil.
4. Less Pain: Spanish-style green olives, Kalamata-style olives, and many different methods of olive preparation provide us with valuable amounts of many different antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients which can act as a natural Ibuprofen. Their oils contain oleocanthal, a substance with anti-inflammatory agents. Similar to classical NSAIDs, they are a type of non-selective inhibitor of cyclooxygenase (COX). 50g (more than three and a half tablespoons) of a typical virgin olive oil per day contains an amount of oleocanthal with similar anti-inflammatory effect as 1/10 of the adult ibuprofen dose.
5. Skin and Hair Health: Black olives are rich in fatty acids and antioxidants that nourish, hydrate and protect. Chief among those is vitamin E. Whether applied topically or ingested, vitamin E has been shown to protect skin from ultraviolet radiation, thus guarding against skin cancer and premature aging. You can gain a healthy, glowing complexion by washing your face in warm water, applying a few drops of olive oil to vulnerable spots, and letting it work its magic for 15 minutes before rinsing it off. In fact, you can moisturize with olive oil before any bath, and even condition your hair with it by mixing it with an egg yolk and leaving it before rinsing and washing.
6. Less Allergies: New research may help explain how olives work to provide us with anti-inflammatory benefits, especially during circumstances involving allergy. Olive extracts have now been shown to function as anti-histamines at a cellular level. By blocking special histamine receptors (called H1 receptors), unique components in olive extracts may help to lessen a cell’s histamine response. Because histamine is a molecule that can get overproduced in allergy-related conditions and can be a key player in the inflammatory process, it’s likely that the anti-inflammatory benefits we get from olives involve this anti-histamine pathway. It’s also possible that olives may have a special role to play as part of an overall anti-allergenic diet. Your circulation will improve and you’ll be able to breath easier with olive consumption. They can increase blood flow and help lessen the effects of illnesses such as asthma through its anti-inflammatory properties.
7. Digestive Tract Health: Frequent consumption of both vitamin E and the monounsaturated fats in black olives is associated with lower rates of colon cancer. These nutrients help prevent colon cancer by neutralizing free radicals. Olive oil’s protective function also has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs, thereby lowering the incidence of gallstone formation. A cup of black olives also contains 17% of the daily allowance of fiber, which promotes digestive tract health by helping to move food through the system at a healthier pace. This keeps any one part of the digestive tract from having to work too hard and supports the ideal balance of chemicals and populations of microorganisms required for a healthy digestive system.
8. Good Source of Iron: Olives, especially black are very high in iron. The ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body is due to the presence of iron in the blood. If we suffer from a lack of iron, our tissues don’t get enough oxygen, and we may feel cold or weak. Iron also plays a vital role in the production of energy. It is a necessary part of a number of enzymes, including iron catalase, iron peroxidase, and the cytochrome enzymes. It also helps produce carnitine, a nonessential amino acid important for the utilization of fat. To top it all off, the proper function of the immune system is dependent on sufficient iron.
9. Eye Health: One cup of olives contains ten percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin A which, when converted into the retinal form, is crucial for healthy eyes. It enables the eye to better distinguish between light and dark, thereby improving night vision. Furthermore, Vitamin A is believed effective against cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma and other age-related ocular diseases.
10. Increases Blood Levels of Glutathione: Olives have shown the ability to increase blood levels of glutathione (one of the body’s premier antioxidant nutrients). Consumption of olive pulp is associated with significantly increased glutathione levels in the blood and improvement in antioxidant capacity.(Source: preventdisease.com)