All About Olives, a Natural Panacea

9 February, 2012 at 07:18 | Posted in Body & Mind, Food | Leave a comment
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Up the olive content of your diet

By Mastoor Khan

If you’re looking for ways to eat more healthily, there can be few easier, or more delicious ways, than upping the olive content of your diet.

Health Benefits of Olives

It’s been shown that people with high olive oil content in their diets have much lower rates of chronic diseases – both heart diseases and cancers. One study done in Greece, Spain, and Italy found that the women participants who had switched to margarine from olive oil were much more likely to develop breast cancer. The body oxidises all day (oxidation is a process you can see with your own eyes when you cut an apple and the edges start going brown) and this process contributes significantly to ageing. Olives can help prevent this process within our bodies.

Two Tablespoons a Day

Latest research proves that not only does an olive-rich diet help with the heart and with various cancers; there is also a multiplicity of benefits to eating this healthy fruit and its oil. It helps with blood pressure and blood clotting conditions. It also helps with inflammation, which is a very hot topic of interest in the medical field. Following another study, the EUROLIVE study, which involved five different European countries, it was found that two tablespoons a day of extra virgin olive oil can show significant health benefits in a really short time (three weeks). Many scientists and nutritionists now recommend that people consume two tablespoons a day. But there is no need to drink this like a medicine when it can be added to foods and drizzled to give more flavour.

Like a Virgin?

Extra virgin olive oil is the nearest in benefits to the olive itself and has by far the most nutritional content. Some extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) are often termed “cold pressed”, which implies that no heat has been applied to extract the oil, but confusingly not all EVOOs that are not using heat extraction use this terminology. Because EVOOs are so much more expensive then other grades, there is a huge temptation for inferior oils to be miss-sold as extra virgin. Last month, the Olive Oil Times reported that two men in Andalusia were convicted of large-scale, systematic olive oil fraud. They were bottling mixtures of sunflower oil with other oils and green colouring, and labelling it as extra virgin olive oil. So it is worth seeking out a reputable brand, even if it does cost more. It’s also worth noting that extra virgin olive oil doesn’t have a huge shelf life. It should be stored in a cool, dark place and it can begin to lose its high nutritional qualities after a couple of months.

The Ones to Try

Because of their bitter edge, olives are an acquired taste, but once that taste has been acquired, they’re bizarrely addictive. Whole olives, besides containing oils, have much goodness in their flesh, including fibre. Types include green (part-ripened), coloured (completely ripe) or black (over-ripe and even oxidised). Olives also come stuffed with anchovy, garlic, and almonds or marinated in herbs, chilli, coriander, and lemon. Here are a few brands that are well worth trying.

Read more: All About Olives, a Natural Panacea | Food | Life | Epoch Times


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