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Powerfoods: Olives

Olive

Olive (Olea europea) oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil, like wine, has been around forever. For people of the Mediterranean, it has had medicinal, even magical powers through the ages. The olive tree is considered a symbol of peace and glory. Olives were first cultivated in the eastern part of the Mediterranean around 5000 B.C.

  • Olive oil helps lower levels of blood cholesterol leading to heart disease and help protect our heart and cell membranes
  • Among plant oils, olive oil is the highest in monounsaturated fat, which doesn’t oxidise in the body, and it’s low in polyunsaturated fat, the kind that does oxidize
  • Although high in calories, olive oil has shown to help reduce levels of obesity
  • Recent studies have proved that people with diets containing high levels of olive oil are less likely to develop rheumatiod arthritis
  • A high consumption of olive oil appears to improve bone mineralisation and calcification. It helps calcium absorption and plays an important role in aiding sufferers and in preventing the onset of Osteoporosis
  • Recent studies indicate that regular consumption of olive oil can help decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure
  • A diet that is rich in olive oil helps lower “bad” low-density lipoproteins while improving blood sugar control and enhances insulin sensitivity
  • Even though olives have a high fat content of 15 to 35 percent, they are an excellent source of oleic acid (an omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid)
  • Since olives contain mixed tocopherols, they are also a good source of vitamin E
  • Vitamin E and the flavonoids found in olives have been shown to have antioxidant properties as well as an ability to fight free radicals
  • Olives and olive oil may also be effective in the prevention and treatment of asthma
  • Cultures whose diets are rich in this type of fat tend to have lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and obesity—even when their total fat consumption is on the high side

Caution

Be mindful of the quantities you eat, as olives have a relatively high content of salt (up to 12% of the daily recommended value for six olives) due to the curing process.

 

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