Briny, Tart, Pleasantly Pungent and Part of the Famously Good-for-You Mediterranean Diet
POSTED August 31, 2013
Olives and their oil are the foundation of the famously-healthy Mediterranean diet. Wholesome fruits rich in antioxidants and quality fats, these bold and briny gems take cooking, baking, snacking and entertaining to the next level—a healthful one.
Tasty, healthful and versatile, olives have been a traditional part of life in every country they grow. Available in a variety of colors, tastes and textures, there is an olive for every palate—from the tart and smoky, purple-hued Calamata to the meaty, green Sevillano from our own olive orchards in California. Even if you don’t consider yourself a lover of olives, these prized fruits make an oil that boasts those same health benefits and can be used to drizzle, sauté, dress, roast, bake and marinate.
We’re sure you’ve heard that olives and their oil are loaded up with “good fat.” But what is good fat? Good fats are unsaturated fats, those said to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost good cholesterol (HDL). Olives are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, or oleic acid, which is said to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, ultimately lowering the risk of heart disease. Moreover, olives are unique when it comes to the ratio of quality fat, as they boast a lot of bang for their buck—high in good fat, low in carbs and with few calories.
Why not get rid of fat all together? Because our bodies need fat. Besides providing us with a good amount of energy in 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 and K).
Speaking of vitamins, olives are rich in Vitamin E—a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage and shield disease. Olives are loaded up with other beneficial antioxidants including the most important, oleuropein. Oleuropein is exclusive to olives and said to possess cardiovascular benefits as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
Given its richness in phytonutrients, olives are said to contain a myriad of health benefits relevant to nearly every system in our bodies, from or cardiovascular system to our immune system.