While we might know of olives from Italian, Greek and Mediterranean foods and recipes, the first trace of the fruit in history was seen in Jordan, Lebanon and Israel. It was only much later when olives were bought to southern Italy by the Romans, where the technique of lye-drying was devised for the first time.
Green Or Black Olives – Interesting Facts
If it’s not olive oil, then its pizzas where olives are used – this is the common perception. But, olives are not just restricted to pizzas but instead form an indispensible addition to salads, pasta, and other carbohydrate rich cuisines in the West. In the East, olives are creatively utilized for adding flavor and zest to meat and poultry dishes.
Contrary to general belief, olives are technically fruits and not vegetables that grow on ‘Olea Europea’ trees. Raw olives are extremely bitter in taste. So, they have to be cured in order to be made edible. Basically, olives change color as they ripen, going from green to red or purple and finally turning black. Thus, green olives are result of the fruits being picked when they are not ripened while black olives signify proper ripening in the fruit.
Pro Health Benefits Of Olives
Olive oil is already quite famous for its healthy nature among the masses, but actual olives health benefits are understood by few. Here is a detailed list of the fruit’s main benefits:
Low Calorie Food –Basically, 75% of the fat content in olives is due to oleic acid, a healthy monosaturated fatty acid. As a result, olives provide very little calories, amounting to just 8% RDA per 135 grams of the fruit.
Heart Healthy – Regular consumption of olives can effectively manage cholesterol wherein the effects can be seen in the form of decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol and relative increase in HDL (good) cholesterol, thus improving the overall LDL:HDL ratio over time. This enhancement in cholesterol ratio automatically reduces the risk of clogging of the arteries, and therefore lowers your chances of facing heart ailments influenced by cholesterol.
Anti-Oxidant Properties – Oxidative stress is a precursor to a number of complications ranging from high toxicity within the body, cardiovascular (heart and lungs) complications, cancerous outgrowths and even general stress. As such, different anti-oxidants in olives work in their own unique way to remove the effects of oxidative stress from the body. In fact, very few plant produce come packed with such diverse range of anti-oxidants the way olives do
Anemia – A health condition caused due to iron deficiency in the body, anemia can be prevented if you include lots of iron rich foods like olives into your daily diet. Nutritionally, 1 cup of olives will approximately account 25% of your daily iron needs.
Antihistamine Properties – When you suffer from stuffy nose or allergies, the common instinct is to take an antihistamine drug to alleviate the problems. Whole olive extracts too have been shown to exhibit similar antihistamine functioning at a cellular level by blocking special H1 receptors.
Bone Health – In tests conducted on lab rats, it was seen that Oleuropein, extracted from olives, was effectively able to prevent bone loss in the animals. Thus, the fruit is aggressively associated with increasing bone density in humans and stalling the untimely onset of osteoporosis (brittle bone condition).
High Fiber Content – Like any other plant based produce, olives too are good source of fibers and therefore promote efficient digestive functioning when consumed regularly.
Anti-Cancer Properties – The vegetable’s protective properties have been exclusively linked to studies on treating stomach and breast cancer. Given that both oxidative stress and long term inflammation contribute towards the development of cancer, olives show great potential in providing a natural remedy for these cancerous complications.
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