The Health Benefits of Olives

You may only think of olives as a tasty addition to a pizza or a garnish for your martini, but they are actually nutrient powerhouses that have numerous health-boosting qualities. Although there are many different varieties of olives, they all posses impo

Below, we will take a look at just a few of the reasons you should include more of these unique fruits in your diet.

Boost heart health

Although olives are high in fat, more than 75 percent of these fats are monounsaturated, and are known as oleic acid, which has been proven to significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease. A study published in the medical journal BMC Medicine showed that extra-virgin olive oil also reduced the risk various cardiovascular diseases.

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
According to research published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, olives contain phenols, polyphenols and other potent antioxidants which are even stronger than those found in vitamin E. They also contain oleuropein, a unique antioxidant that is only found in olives. This antioxidant helps to reduce to oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and can reduce inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, a compound which contains anti-inflammatory properties similar to those found in the drug ibuprofen.

Cancer prevention

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties found in olives makes them useful in the prevention of cancer. A report published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine showed the compounds in olives activate both a tumor suppressor gene and an apoptotic gene, both of which induce programmed cell death. Olive oil was proven to play an important role in preventing the development of carcinomas.

Anti-aging benefits

Olives contain a phenol called tyrosol which has been proven to increase the lifespan and stress resistance in roundworms. In a lab setting, the lifespan was extended 15 percent. Other antioxidants found in olives could possibly help reduce the skin’s sensitivity to the radiation found in UV light, which could help reduce the appearance of fine lines and age spots as a result of sun exposure.

Stronger bones

In animal studies, the consumption of olives and olive oil has been shown to prevent the loss of bone mass in regards to aged-related osteoporosis. In human studies, elderly individuals who follow a Mediterranean-type diet for a period of two years experienced an increase of a bone matrix protein called osteocalcin, suggesting that olives help protect bone density in humans.

When looking to add olives or olive oil to your diet, choose those from organic sources as often as possible to ensure optimal nutrient levels and product integrity.

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