Olives are one of the most ancient cultivated foods known to man. In fact, olives are a staple in early civilizations including Rome, Greece, and Egypt. It’s also the reason why Mediterranean cuisine is so healthy. But what makes olives the world’s healthiest food? Let’s find out:
Protects from Autoimmune Diseases
Olives are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce internal inflammation and irritation. Black and green olives share the same level of anti-inflammatory compounds that soothe a reactive immune system. Studies show that regular consumption of olives helps reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, gout, type 1 diabetes, and other inflammatory conditions.
Reduces Cancer Risk
Olives are proven to reduce cancer risks. This fruit contains hydroxytyrosol, a phytonutrient that’s linked to cancer prevention. This chemical also reduces DNA damage and abnormal cell growth caused by oxidative stress.
In addition, olives also contain anthocyanins, antioxidants that protect the tissues from inflammation and free radical damage. Together, hydroxytyrosol and anthocyanins help protect the cells and tissues from oxidative stress. These nutrients also inhibit the growth of malignant tumors in lab tests.
In a series of lab tests, the oleic acid in olives reduced the development of breast cancer cells. Even the olive skin is loaded with a cancer-fighting compound called maslinic. Maslinic is linked to cell death or apoptosis in the colon cancer cells.
Keeps the Heart Healthy
According to the World Health Organization, heart disease is one of the deadliest and widespread diseases in the world. It claims millions of lives every year.
One way to protect the heart from heart disease is to eat lots of olives! Olives are packed with a type of monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. Studies show that oleic acid has the ability to eliminate fatty plaques in the arteries that cause strokes and heart attacks. Oleic acid also regulates blood pressure and relieves cardiac stress.
The phenolic compounds in olives also protect the heart from diseases by thinning out the blood. When the blood is more fluid, the risk of blood clots is reduced. At the same time, phenolic compounds also dilates the blood vessels to improve oxygen delivery to the organs.
Strengthens the Bones
Did you know why the traditional Mediterranean diet helps prevent bone disease? The same compounds in olives that reduce heart disease and cancer also strengthen the bones. Hydroxytyrosol combined with oleuropein promotes calcium deposition, bone cells regeneration, and bone growth. Studies show that these nutrients reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other age-related bone disorders.
Aids in Digestion
Olives are an excellent source of dietary fiber. A cup serving of fresh olives satisfies 20% of your RDA of this nutrient. As fiber expands in the stomach, it stops the body from producing hunger hormone ghrelin. At the same time, fiber binds with fat so it is safely eliminated as waste.
Apart from boosting your weight loss efforts, fiber keeps the heart and brain healthy. It helps regulate blood pressure, stabilizes the blood sugar level and even prevents gastrointestinal diseases.