Olives: these little hard-pitted fruits and their oil have been used in food, cosmetics, and more for centuries. Green when unripe and brownish black when ripe, there is a dizzying variety of olives includings Agrinion, Bella di Cerignola, California Sicilian-style, Gaeta, Greek black, Greek green, and more. What all these varieties have in common is that, in addition to being a delicious part of many Mediterranean and Italian dishes, olive and olive oil have all kinds of health benefits when consumed.
Heart Health & Cancer
There are a variety of health benefits when consuming olives and using olive oil in cooking. One major benefit is being protected against colon, breast and skin cancer.
- Keep in mind; olives and olive oil have an abundance of antioxidants and anti-cancer compounds within them.
- Olive oil is also good for your heart.
- Olive oil has biophenols in them, which suppresses bad cholesterol, which in turn reduces blood pressure.
Olives and olive oil also reduces pain. The ingredients in olives and olive oil naturally reduce pain, pain that comes from diseases like arthritis. In addition, olives and olive oil can improve your circulation. Most importantly, olives have anti-inflammatory benefits. To be clear, they reduce chronic inflammation by stopping damage to organ tissue before the damage begins.
Benefits to Your Bones
Some may not know it; olives and olive oil may benefit your bones. These food products accomplish this by improving bone mineral density. In addition, they also improve the health of your brain. Studies show that they not only improve brain health, they may also reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
In addition, olives and olive oil also reduce the risk of some cancers. Some cancers are reduced by protecting cellular DNA, which prevents tumor growth.
- Extra virgin oil may lower blood sugar as soon as two hours after a meal by inducing insulin action.
- Research continues to show that diets that are high in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats may lessen the risk of type II diabetes.
Most importantly, olives and olive oil can help your body absorb other nutrients more efficiently. For example, antioxidants that are found in apples, oranges and veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, are best absorbed when consumed with dietary fat like olives.
Another benefit of olives and olive oil is that it may encourage weight loss. Studies show that those who consume olives and use olive oil in their cooking, eat fewer calories and are rarely overweight, compared to those who do not consume olives or use olive oil in their cooking.
Preventing a stroke or depression
Other studies show that olive oil that is used regularly in cooking and with salad dressing, may help prevent a stroke. In addition, those who consume a diet that is rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats such as olives and olive oil may have a lower risk of depression.
- Of course, diet, physical activity and a healthy lifestyle are also important elements of good mental health.
- There may also be a connection between using extra virgin olive oil and preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
To conclude, It’s no wonder olives and their oil have been such an important part of Italian cuisine for so long. They can be a healthy, delicious addition to almost anyone’s diet. With a host of health benefits, these little pitted morsels are equally beneficial to the body as they are delicious. This is yet another reason to stop by your favorite Italian restaurant and add some extra olive oil to your diet today!