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Olives are a rich Mediterranean superfood that has been cultivated for thousands of years. The oldest known olive tree is located on the island of Crete in Greece. The ancient tree, called the Olive tree of Vouves, is 3,000 years old and still produces high-quality olives! There are more than 1,000 olive tree varieties; the most commonly recognized are the green Manzanilla olives from Spain and the Kalamata, dark brown and black olives from Greece.
Olives may be small but are loaded with incredible health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants, healthy monounsaturated fats and are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral. They are great for your heart, liver, metabolic health, and so much more. A few olives a day will surely keep the doctor away.
Lowers Inflammation and Oxidative Stress Levels
According to WebMD, olives are a natural remedy for reducing chronic inflammation since they are packed with antioxidants, including hydroxytyrosol and oleanolic acids. Inflammation can lead to disease when it becomes chronic.
Severe inflammation results in oxidative stress, with excessive free radicals destroying healthy cells. This can lead to diabetes, cancer, stroke, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis when unchecked. Therefore, consuming antioxidant-packed olives is a healthy choice, particularly as you age.
Improves Heart Health
Olives comprise 74% oleic acid. This oleic acid is the main reason why olives may improve heart health. In addition, a study from the International Journal of Food Science & Technology found that this monounsaturated fatty acid can regulate cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure.
In addition, olives are also a great source of copper. Western diets contain low amounts of copper, which can contribute to heart disease.
Reduces Cancer Risk
Olives are a favorite food in Mediterranean regions, where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are commonly served with olives. A study from the Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology journal found that olives may shorten the life of cancer cells due to their antioxidant properties and oleic acid content.
While more research is needed, preliminary studies reveal that olive extract may effectively fight breast, stomach, and colon cancer.
Fights Flu and Colds
The polyphenol oleuropein found in olive leaf extract has antibacterial, antiviral, and healing properties. As a result, the olive leaf extract is an excellent natural remedy to help fight the flu thanks to its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. For example, a study in the journal Nutrients showed that ill athletes who consumed olive leaf extract had a 28% reduction in sick days. So, don’t forget about the olive leaf extract the next time you feel a cold coming.
Protects The Liver
Olives can help protect and detoxify your liver. It isn’t uncommon for people to have a toxic buildup of fat around their liver. Doctors Health Press points out that this particular body fat is your liver’s way of protecting itself; however, it is also an indication of a stressed liver. According to a study in the Journal of Nutrition, consuming extra-virgin olive oil could reduce non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.