Olives are of the most consumed fruits, derived from olive trees. These fruits belong to the classes of drupes or stone fruits, like the groups linked to pistachios, almonds, mangoes, cherries, and many such. The oil extracted from olive seeds, popularly consumed as olive oil, is one of the most important sources of essential nutrients like vitamin E, powerful dietary antioxidants, and monounsaturated fatty acids that are significantly known to take good care of your heart. According to health experts, olive and its extracts like olive oil are effective enough to treat severe heart conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
All You Need to Know About Olives:
Olives are the fruits of the evergreen olive trees (Olea europaea) found in the Mediterranean region and weigh around 3 to 5 grams on average. Most of its parts- the fruits, leaves, and seeds of an olive tree are edible. Olives are mostly greenish to yellow in shades, but still, they have a unique green shade, that is often referred to as ‘olive green’. Some olives remain mostly green when they are immature, while they turn black when they are ripe. Many species of olive fruits are found to be green and even completely ripe. In the Middle Eastern countries, the olive has been used as a medicinal fruit to treat various severe disorders like chronic diseases and heart problems, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and to treat cancer since ancient times. Besides having such medicinal properties, olives come with a rich, delicious taste too. They are often used in salads (as olive oil) and tapenades. You can also have olives in your breakfast with sandwiches for a healthy diet.
Nutritional Components in Olive:
Around 3.5 ounces or 100 grams of ripe, fresh olives provides with the following nutrition: (1)
- Calories: 115
- Water: 80%
- Vitamin E
- Protein: 0.8 grams
- Carbohydrates: 6.3 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
- Fiber: 3.2 grams
- Sodium: 110 milligrams
- Fat: 10.7 grams
- Saturated: 1.42 grams
- Monounsaturated: 7.89 grams
- Polyunsaturated: 0.91 grams
How To Have Olives in Your Diet?
Fresh, ripe olives can be eaten either on their own in moderation or can be served with different meals to include them healthily in your diet. You can try having olive fruits in the following ways:
- Green vegetable salad
- Greek salad
- Potato salad
- Spaghetti puttanesca
Nutritional Benefits of Having Olives:
Fat: On average, olives contain 11 to 15% of fat and 74% of monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid which is considered as one of the main components of olive oil. This component is essentially known to reduce chronic diseases like inflammation and reduce heart disease and even cancer.
Vitamins And Minerals: According to experts, olives are considered to be the powerhouses of various essential vitamins and minerals that are not found altogether in many plant-based foods and vegetables. Some of those are listed below:
- Vitamin E: Plant-based foods like olives usually contain high fat that comes with notable amounts of vitamins like vitamin E and powerful dietary antioxidants.
- Iron: Olive fruits, especially ripe black olives contain rich quantities of iron, which is important for your red blood cells to transport oxygen and thus prevent the occurrence of diseases like anemia or similar disorders that occurs due to lack of enough red blood cells or hemoglobin.
- Copper: This is one of the most important elements that are often opined by experts as an important component of a healthy diet, but it is often found to be lacking in the regular foods we have in our diet. Olives contain enough copper minerals that can replenish copper deficiency and thus can lower the chances of developing heart diseases.
- Calcium: Calcium is known to be the most abundant mineral in your body that is solely important for the proper growth and development of your bones, muscle, and helps to regulate the proper functioning of your nervous system.
- Sodium: Fresh and ripe olive fruits contain rich proportions of sodium minerals which are often missing in the regular foods we have in your diet.
Carbohydrates And Fiber: Around 4 to 6% of fresh ripe olives are occupied by carbohydrates, the majority of which are in the forms of essential dietary fiber. Many experts say that around 52–86% of the total carbohydrate content of olives is occupied by fibers. So, olives can be considered an important food of an incredibly low- carbohydrate diet. So, out of the total amount of carbohydrates present in olives, only a small portion of the carbohydrate content is digestible.
But the fiber content in olives can be described as 10 olives only providing about 1.5 grams, which is not enough fiber.
Plant Components: Olives are rich in many plant compounds, particularly antioxidants, including:
- Oleuropein: One of the most important forms of plant-based antioxidants, found in high amounts in fresh, unripe olives that are immensely beneficial for your health.
- Hydroxytyrosol: During olive ripening, oleuropein is broken down into another powerful antioxidant called hydroxytyrosol that is good for your heart.
- Tyrosol: One of the most important plant components in olives, known to prevent heart diseases, but not so powerful as hydroxytyrosol or oleuropein.
- Oleanolic acid: Suffering from liver problems? Have olives because they contain an essential plant-based compound called Oleanolic acid, which is potential enough to keep your liver healthy and will also help to regulate blood fats and contains anti-inflammatory properties too. However, severe liver problems cannot be simply solved by consuming olives. You need to consult your medical caregiver in that case.
- Quercetin: A vital nutrient is known to regulate your normal blood pressure levels and thus takes good care of your heart health.
Health Benefits of Having Olives in Your Diet:
Olives are known to contain a lot of vital nutrients that can provide a good number of essential health benefits. Some of those are listed below:
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Olives are rich in dietary antioxidants that are found to lower the chances of developing chronic illnesses like inflammatory disorders, heart-related problems, infections from various micro-organisms, and even cancer. The health extracts in olive fruits, especially in olive pulps, can notably increase the levels of powerful antioxidants like glutathione in your body. (2)
2. Keeps Good Care of Your Heart
Heart diseases are found to be one of the most diagnosed diseases today. Most people suffer from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Studies have found that olive fruits contain extracts like oleic acid, the main fatty acid in olives that are known to control high blood pressure levels. It also helps to lower the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol and keep the levels of HDL or good cholesterol at an optimum level. This in the long run keeps your heart healthy and keeps your heart free from diseases like heart strokes, heart failure, cardiac arrest, or any such cardio-vascular issues.
3. Keeps Your Bone Healthy
Olives and their extracts like olive oil contain essential components like some vital plant-based compounds that can significantly lower the chances of developing bone-related disorders like osteoporosis, which is a reduction in bone mass and bone quality and thus results in bone fractures. (3)
4. Contains Anti- Cancer Properties
Olives and olive oil contain components like antioxidants and oleic acids that are rich in anti-carcinogenic properties and are significantly known to fight several types of cancer, particularly breast cancer. These compounds have been found in recent experiments, to break the cycle of cancer cells in the breast, colon, and stomach and thus help to fight cancer. (4)
5. Other Health Benefits of Olives
- Constipation: Olive contains some amounts of fiber that help in proper bowel movement, keeps you regular, and relieves constipation.
- Diabetes: Olives contain significantly low levels of sugar. So, they can help to control diabetes and check blood sugar spikes.
SOME HEALTH RISKS OF OLIVE: Though olive fruits are notably known to contain numerous health benefits and provide a lot of nutrients, there are certain potential downsides of having olives in high amounts. Some of those are listed below:
While allergy to olive tree pollen is common. If you ever experience allergic reactions in the mouth or throat after having olive, try to avoid consumption or seek professional help.
Olives may contain heavy metals and minerals like boron, sulfur, tin, and lithium, consumption of which in high amounts is likely to worsen your health and may lead to chances of developing cancer. (5)
Apart from these, high consumption of olives can also lead to nausea, uneasy sensations in your mouth that may require dental treatments in worst cases.
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