The scientific name of olive is olea europaea. The fruit is available throughout the year, though it is harvested in the month of September. Usually the fruit has a bitter flavor and thus, it needs to be processed before consumption. Black olives are fully ripe whereas the greener ones are unripe. There are different varieties of olives available; the most popular ones being manzanilla, kalamata, picholine, ponentine, liguria, lugano, gaeta, sevillano besides the many others.
It has been proved in various studies that there are many healthy nutrients found in olives and thus there are several olives health benefits. There are anti-inflammatory and different antioxidants present alog with minerals and vitamins. A phytonutrient, hydroxytyrosol present in olives is said to have properties which protects the bones and also prevents cancer. Olives are also rich in iron, copper and fiber present in them making them beneficial.
Health Benefits of Olives
Cardiovascular Benefits : There are anti-oxidant nutrients present in olives which reduce the risk of heart diseases and heart attacks, Thus eating olives leads to a healthy heart. Vitamin E is a good anti-oxidant and it is present in olives along with zinc and selenium. But the key reason why the fruit is considered to be an anti-oxidant is due to the presence of the phytonutrient nutrient, oleuropein. This lowers the stress caused due to oxidation, scavenges nitric oxide, reduces the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and reduces the damage caused to the nerve cells due to oxidation. Glutathione is the main antioxidant of the body and olives increase the presence of it in the blood of the body.
Prevents Cancer : Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are one of main reasons of cancer, and thus the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties of olives help in cancer protection. The oxygen containing molecules hamper the function of the body cells and also damage their structure and this increases the oxidative stress which increases the risk of cancer. It has been proved by the researchers from the University of Oxford that the phytonutrients of olives are useful in prevention of gastric and breast cancer. The high content of Vitamin E in olives reduces the growth of carcinogenic cells and helps in the prevention of cancer . This is one of the very essential olives health benefits.
Anti-Inflammatory Benefits : There are anti-inflammatory properties present in phytonutrients. Apart from phytonutrients, presence of vitamin C, polyphenols and mono-saturated fats reduce the tendency of body inflammation. Conditions like rheumatoid and osteoporosis can be treated and prevented due to the anti-inflammatory properties of olives. In the field of cardio vascular field, the anti-inflammatory properties of olives have been given a lot of importance. The activity in the arachidonic pathway which is the metabolic pathway is reduced by the polyphenols present in olives. All inflammatory processes are mobilized by this pathway and olives reduce this, preventing any inflammation.
Healthy Skin and hair : Due to the presence of fatty acids and antioxidants, olives are an excellent source to hydrate and nourish the skin, making it healthy and glowing. The high vitamin E content also helps in providing a natural glow to the skin. Protection from the ultraviolet radiation rays of the sun is also provided by olives due to the Vitamin E content. This provides a shield against skin cancer and premature aging of the skin, making it look beautiful. Olive oil is also good for hair as it improves the texture and improves the growth of hair.
Cure for Anemia : The high iron content in olives facilitates the formation of the red blood cells of the body which are the carriers of oxygen. High levels of energy are produced as more enzymes are secreted due to the high iron levels. The immunity system of the body is also boosted by eating olives which in turn has many health benefits.
Improves Digestion : Olives are good for the stomach as they can be easily digested. Many stomach ailments are prevented when one regularly consumes olives. Constipation is prevented and general digestion improves due to olives. When olives are consumed in the form of oil, the secretion of the bile and the hormones of the pancreas are improved and this makes the digestive track healthy. Gallstone formation is reduced by the consumption of olives.
Usage and Storage
Delicious Olives Cheese Puffs !
Different kinds of olives can be found; like whole olives, pitted and stuffed. If the olives are bought in bulk, it should be ensured that they are brought from a good shop and they are stored immersed in brine as this is good for the retention of their moisture. Mushy and soft olives are not good and thus, firm olives are always the best choice. This should be kept in mind irrespective of the kinds of olives that are bought. Glass jars and cans of olives can be easily kept in the fridge and stored. There are various ways to use olives. They can be added to pastas and salads and a spread can also be made using the olives.
When not to Use Olives
The presence of oleic fatty acid cannot be good for the body if excess of olives are consumed. Blood circulation can also be disrupted due to over consumption of olives.
Olives are very nutritional fruit with many health benefits. Many diseases can be avoided by the regular consumption of olives but sometimes the excess intake can have undesirable effects. There are various ways to use olives in the daily food and by doing this, one can ensure that they use olives in the best possible way.