We have seen olives served with martinis, spread across pizzas, tucked into salads, pressed into cooking oil, and served on their own as a healthy snack, but these little fruits offer a lot more than just taste or appearance as a garnish. They are packed full of health benefits and you may not believe this, but they may save the lives of sharks too!
This article will explore the natural health benefits of these tiny fruits and just how important they really are. You may even find yourself changing your diet and living the Mediterranean way…
All About the Olive
Olives are small fruits that grow on olive trees and belong to a group of fruit called stones fruits or drupes. They are closely related to cherries, almonds, pistachios, mangoes, and peaches, and weigh about 3-5 grams.
You may have noticed that olives come in different colors. This is because immature olives are green and only turn black when they ripen, although there are other olives that remain green even when they are fully ripe.
Olives are a very rich source of Vitamin E and contain many powerful antioxidants. Studies have shown that they are a great food for a healthy heart and may even offer protection against osteoporosis and cancer.
In the Mediterranean region, about 90% of all olives are used to make olive oil by extracting the healthy fats in the olives.
Let’s Explore the Nutritional Facts
100 grams of ripe olives offer the following:
- – Calories: 115 – 145 or about 59 calories for every 10 olives consumed.
- – Carbs: 6.3 grams (Olives are considered a low-carb fruit)
- – Protein: 0.8 grams
- – Water: 80%
- – Sugar: 0 grams
- – Fiber: 3.2 grams
- – Fat: 10.7 grams (1.42 grams saturated fat, 7.89 monosaturated fat, and 0.91 polyunsaturated fat)
Olives contain 11-15% fat. 74% of that is oleic acid which is a type of monosaturated fatty acid and the main component of olive oil. Oleic acid has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and decreased inflammation.
Vitamins and Minerals
Olives are an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals, including the following:
- – Vitamin E: Olives are rich in this powerful antioxidant.
- – Iron: Black olives contain a high amount of iron which is essential for your red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body.
- – Copper: If you have a copper deficiency then you have an increased risk of heart disease.
- – Sodium: Since most olives are packaged in brine or saltwater, they contain high amounts of sodium.
- – Calcium: Calcium is an essential mineral for bone, muscle, and nerve function, and is the most abundant mineral in the body.
Olives contain a variety of beneficial plant compounds, especially antioxidants, including:
- – Oleuropein: Common in fresh, unripe olives.
- – Hydroxytyrosol: Oleuropein is broken down into this powerful antioxidant.
- – Tyrosol: Most commonly found in olive oil.
- – Oleanolic Acid: Helps prevent damage to the liver, reduce inflammation in the body, and regulate blood fats.
- – Quercetin: Helps lower blood pressure and promotes a healthy heart.
Squalene and Squalane
Squalene is a major hydrocarbon compound that is present in Virgin Olive Oils and makes up more than 90% of the total hydrocarbon content of Olive Oil. Olive Oil contains up to 300-fold more Squalene compared to any other vegetable oil and more than 5,000-fold more than other vegetable foods.
Squalene is a lipid and is commonly known as Omega-2 and shares many similar properties with Omega-3 fatty acids. Squalene is extracted from the liver of deep-sea sharks and is the shark liver oil that is used commonly in moisturizing cosmetics. Unfortunately, new developments have led researchers to need this shark liver oil to produce a vaccine for COVID-19. Extracting Squalene from sharks will damage the ocean’s Eco cycle and endanger many species of sharks, despite the fact that the plant-based alternative of olives is available to provide Squalene. Olives offer the exact same molecular structure of Squalene as that contained in the liver of sharks. We are really hoping that researchers will turn to olives to save the sharks!
While Squalene is found in shark liver and in olives, it is also found naturally in the sebum of human skin and researchers believe that it lubricates and protects the skin
Squalene is a highly beneficial natural substance. Here is why:
- It has cancer-fighting properties
- It offers anti-aging properties
- It is an antioxidant that fights against the damage caused by free radicals.
- Protects the skin from UV radiation and offers anti-inflammatory properties for various skin conditions.
- Squalene is used as an additive in vaccines because increases the body’s immune response by activating antigen-presenting cells and T-cells.
- It helps promote healthy cholesterol levels
- Improves mitochondrial function
It is important to note that there is a difference between Squalene and Squalane, it is not a spelling error. While we have an understanding of what Squalene is, Squalane is derived by the process of hydrogenation of Squalene. If Squalene was not hydrogenated, then it would oxidize when exposed to air and it would lose all of its amazing benefits, whereas Squalane is more shelf-stable and a more effective version of Squalene, this is also why it is more beneficial in beauty products.
Essentially, Squalane is the more stable form of the Squalene molecule and highly refined Squalane from olives has an increased capacity to quickly penetrate the skin at a rate of 2mm/ second. Squalane has the ability to prevent sun UV damage and age spots and promotes cell growth. This is why it is used in many cosmetics; it is easy to emulsify, chemically inert, and it is soluble in most cosmetic oils.
The Wonderful Benefits of Olives
Now that we know the nutritional value of olives, let’s take a look at what benefits these little fruits have to offer us.
Improved Cholesterol Levels and a Healthy Heart
Monosaturated fats are linked to the benefit of lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol while improving the levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol. Olives are full of monosaturated fatty acids and can manage your cholesterol levels effectively.
Cholesterol levels affect the health of your heart which means that the monosaturated fatty acids contained in olives will contribute to the overall health of your heart. In addition, the powerful antioxidant properties of the polyphenols contained in olives protect against oxidative stress as well as chronic inflammation; both of which are initiating key factors of heart disease.
Long-term research has shown that people who consume Extra-Virgin Olive Oil daily have a reduced risk of heart attack, cardiovascular mortality, and high blood pressure, compared to those who don’t.
The plant-based compounds contained in olives can help increase nitric acid production because they improve vascular function and promote blood flow to the tissues. Improved blood circulation can help reduce the risk of chronic disease and if you are an athlete then you will enjoy more energy.
Those little polyphenols in olives work wonders! They have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation in the body by stopping organ tissue damage before it has even started.
As we mentioned earlier, olives contain Squalene which also offers strong anti-inflammatory benefits. Squalene can help prevent damage to the skin and treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema. Before we can enjoy the anti-inflammatory benefits of Squalene for the skin, it must be converted to Squalane to increase its skin-friendly properties and shelf-life.
A Boost for the Bones
Polyphenols contained in olives can improve bone mineral density because they reduce degeneration. Mediterranean diets that contain a lot of olives have been linked to a reduced risk of fractures in older adults.
Olives contain calcium which is a mineral necessary for life and helps build and protect your bones.
Improved Brain Health
Olives contain antioxidants and Squalene which contribute to the reduction of oxidative stress caused by inflammation and increased protection of the tissues of vital organs in the body (yes, that includes your brain). Together with the polyphenols, these compounds act together to prevent memory deficits, slow down age-related processes, and reduce deteriorative conditions of the brain.
Vitamin E, in particular, has been linked to improved cognition and a lowered risk of cognitive decline as we age. This means that you have a reduced risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Olive Leaf Extract in the form of a Supplement will also assist and support a healthy immune system. Look no further, click on the link below and get Your Olive Leaf Extract today.
Stay Satisfied for Longer
Using Extra-Virgin Olive Oil to cook has a lot more benefits than you may realize. One of those benefits is that it boosts satiety because it provides healthy fats that you keep you fuller for a lot longer. This can help you lose weight because you will not be visiting the pantry cupboard frequently for snacks because you are not feeling hungry.
Olives may be little, but they definitely pack a fruitful punch against fighting cancer. High-antioxidant foods, like olives, protect cellular DNA and can potentially reduce the risk of tumor growth and reduce oxidative stress that causes damages to the tissues and organs of the body.
A new study published in PLOS ONE and led by Hunter College has shown that Extra-Virgin Olive Oil kills human cancer cells and without any side-effects on normal cells. Previous studies have also reported that the component found in olive oils (oleocanthal) has significant cancer-fighting abilities.
Squalene contained in Virgin Olive Oil also offers anti-cancer properties because it inhibits the isoprenoid production in neoplastic cells and has the ability to create an obstacle for cancer growth and development.
Improved Blood Sugar
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil can help lower your blood sugar levels as early as two hours before eating because it aids insulin action. Olives contain oleic acids and together with the polyphenols, they can lower blood sugar levels.
According to the American Diabetes Association, glucose levels fall by up to 12% when consuming foods that have Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.
Olives offer an array of natural health benefits and may be the answer to saving the ocean’s sharks. In addition to offering their own array of benefits, they can help you reap the rewarding vitamins and minerals of other foods too. Adding a tablespoon of olive oil to salads and drizzling it over foods can help enhance your intake of carotenoids from the vegetables and fruits you are consuming and can help you absorb their antioxidants too because of the dietary fats olives contain.
The next time you are scrounging around for a snack, rather opt for snacking on some olives. Put the heavy cooking oils down too and replace them with a good-quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.
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Until Next Time