Olives are fruits of the Olea europaea tree. Olea is the Latin word for “oil,” reflecting the Olive’s very high fat content (over 80%), of which approximately 75% is made up of oleic acid, a health-promoting monounsaturated fat that supports heart health.
Olives are one of the oldest foods and are believed to have originated in Crete between 5,000 and 7,000 years ago. Olives cannot be eaten right off the tree. Only after they have gone through special processing methods that reduce the intrinsic bitterness concentrated in their skin do they acquire their delicious taste.
The color and taste of Olives are determined by their ripeness when picked and how they are processed, which involves fermentation and/or curing oil, brine or salt. Fully ripened Olives are black in color, green unripe Olives can also turn black due to processing.
75% of all the olive oil sold worldwide comes from three Mediterranean countries, Italy, Spain or Greece. Mediterranean diets have been especially interesting to researchers in relation to heart disease. Given the amount of total fat in many Mediterranean diets. One reason for the lower-than expected heart disease is olive oil. The high amount of the oleic acid, the monounsaturated fatty acid has been shown in many studies to have an effect of lowering LDL cholesterol (bad Cholesterol).
Olives and Olive oil promote balanced blood sugar, anti-inflammatory benefits, and can promote healthy weight control. They are also a good source of good fat, iron, Vitamin E, dietary fiber, copper and several Carotenoids like Beta-Carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Try adding more Olives and Olive oil to your diet. You can add them to your favorite dish or in salads, omelets or as tapenade. They can be washed before consumption to reduce the salt content.
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