Get the Scoop on Olives: A Healthy Indulgence
Olives are a cornerstone of the famously-healthy Mediterranean diet. A wholesome fruit rich in antioxidents, the olive contains the "good fat" that reduces your risk of heart disease. Because they come in many varieties, there is an olive for nearly every palate. Learn why you should make them a regular feature on your family's menu.
So olives are loaded up with “good fats”—what does that mean to you?
“Good fats,” or unsaturated fats, are those responsible for lowering your total cholesterol and, in particular, your LDL cholesterol. These fats along with the fiber found in plants and vegetables, are said to reduce your risk of heart disease.
I know what you’re thinking: why not get rid of fat all together? Our bodies need fat. Besides providing us with energy due to its concentrated calories and allowing us to feel fuller, fat is responsible for growth and healthy skin. Without fat, say goodbye to your metabolism and the vitamins (A, D, E & K).
Along with the health benefits of monounsaturated fats, olives are also rich in iron, copper and Vitamin E—a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage and shield disease.
With so much tasty goodness going for them, olives have been a traditional part of life in every country where they grow. Many varieties and styles have been developed, so there is an olive that compliments every meal and snack – from the little, brown Niçoise of France to the hefty Black Greek to the meaty, green Sevillano from our own olive orchards in California. And olive oil, of course, promotes the same health benefits, though less condensed. Like olives, olive oil is similar in versatility with its kitchen usage: sautéing, dressing, marinating and as simple as mixing with spices to dip bread.
So next time you plan a party, draw up a menu for a family dinner or are looking for an easy snack that's both wholesome and sure to please everyone, consider the olive in all its many colors, flavors and pairings. As thousands of years' worth of happy snackers can attest, the olive is just plain good eating, and good for you to boot.
More info on the health benefits of olives from eHOW.