Native to the Mediterranean region, olives are a small type of drupe fruit which is packed with plenty of life-giving health benefits, such as helping to increase energy, nourish skin and hair, stabilize blood sugar, and prevent several types of disease.
Many olives start off green and turn black when they ripen and can be cured in different ways: pickled, salted, dried, and soaked in brine, water, or an alkali solution. They are delicious, nutritious, and super healthy, making them easy to incorporate into your healthy lifestyle.
Both green and black olives can be eaten on their own or added to a variety of dishes, ranging from pasta dishes, pizza, seafood paellas, rice plates, salads, soups, and can even be used in martinis and cocktail drinks.
They contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plenty of healthy fats, which makes them one of nature’s most delicious ways to improve overall health.
Here are 10 Health benefits of Olives:
1..Reduces the Risk of Obesity
Trans-fats and saturated fats commonly found in cakes, cookies, fries, and junk food increase the risk of obesity, stroke, heart disease, and cancer.
Olives are high in monounsaturated fat, which is a healthy kind of fat that helps to prevent cravings for junk food and reduces the risk of obesity. Studies have shown that monounsaturated fats help to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce belly fat, and balance hormones, which is great for weight and appetite management.
2. Lowers Cholesterol
High cholesterol, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol can cause blocked arteries, stroke, and heart disease, which is why it’s important to get sufficient healthy fats in your diet. Healthy fats, like the ones contained in black and green olives, help to balance LDL and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which helps to keep you disease-free and healthy.
Olives also contain soluble dietary fiber, which is excellent for restoring the balance between HDL and LDL cholesterol.
3. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Heart disease is the number 1 killer in the world, accounting for more than 17.3 million deaths per year! Olives are high in antioxidants, which help to reduce oxidative stress in the cardiovascular system. They also contain a powerful compound known as oleic acid, which studies have strongly associated with improving heart health by lowering both blood pressure and cholesterol.
4. Stabilizes Blood Pressure
Olives are high in a compound known as quercetin, which has been proven to reduce blood pressure and prevent the risk of developing hypertension. Hypertension can cause strokes, heart disease, and heart failure and it is often linked to increased levels of stress.
The oleic acid, which is the main fatty acid in olives, also helps to lower blood pressure, while the excellent amount of magnesium helps to improve circulation.
5. Helps to Prevent Cancer
Cancer cases are much lower in the Mediterranean region than in any other European or American place in the world and research has found that it’s because of the abundant use of olives and its luxurious oil.
Test-tube experiments have shown that the antioxidant compounds in olives help to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, which could significantly reduce the risk of developing breast, colon, and stomach cancer.
The anthocyanins, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds in olives are excellent both for nourishing healthy cells and for preventing the development and spread of diseased cells. A few olives per day could actually keep the doctor away!
6. Keeps Skeletal System Healthy
Special compounds known as hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein in olives have been found to increase bone growth and calcium absorption, which helps to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, arthritis, and fractures.
Many studies have also shown that the polyphenols and phytonutrients in green and black olives are excellent for bone health, helping to keep them nourished, supple, and strong.
According to medical science, inflammation is the root of all disease, which makes olives an excellent natural supplement for better health. Studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory compounds in olives function as anti-histamines on a cellular level, which helps to treat inflammation at the source. By inhibiting the growth of the enzymes that create inflammation, olives also help to reduce the pain, swelling, and discomfort associated with inflammation.
8. Excellent for Digestive Health
Eating just 10 olives already meets 5% of the daily recommended amount of dietary fiber, which helps to keep bowel movements regular and improves overall digestive function. Fiber also helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied, which gives the digestive system time to process everything before reaching for the next meal.
Studies published in the European Journal of Nutrition show that olives also increase the amount of bifidobacteria in the gut, which is the good kind of bacteria that keeps the digestive system balanced and healthy.
9. Boosts Energy
100 grams of olives contain 115 calories, which is made up of 10-15% of healthy fat and 80-85% of water. This combination is great for hydrating cells and for boosting energy, especially because it’s slow-releasing energy. The number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in each olive also helps to give your body the nutrients that it needs to function optimally, which can improve cognitive function, reduce stress, and lift your mood.
It’s also an excellent source of iron, containing 18% of the recommended daily amount per 100 grams, which helps to increase oxygenation throughout the body by improving the red blood cell count. An iron deficiency can cause anemia, which leads to headaches, migraines, and fatigue. Regular intake of olives can help to keep your iron intake up, which will help to prevent anemia and will boost overall energy and vitality.
10. Amazing for Skin and Hair
Mediterranean’s are known for having beautiful glowing skin and luscious hair because they have a diet rich in olives and olive oil. The fatty acids in olives help to nourish skin tissue and hair from the inside out, which keeps skin supple and moisturized and hair strong and healthy.
Olives also contain powerful antioxidants that help to reduce free radical damage in the body, which we are all exposed to from environmental pollution, the sun’s UV rays, and chemical products. Oxidative stress can lead to premature aging, something that olives are the perfect antidote for.