Olives are one of those beautiful, fermented foods that have some many nutritional benefits and they taste great. They are full of gut loving goodness and healthy nutrients like monounsaturated fat, mainly oleic acid, fibre and vitamin E and several phytochemicals. Olives have always been a part of the Mediterranean diet but are now eaten by everyone regardless of diet.
Olives naturally have a bitter taste due to something called secoiridoid OL, but they are treated with sodium hydroxide (NaOH) to make them more palatable and acceptable to eat. If you really want to read more about the chemical qualities about olives and why they differ in antioxidant content etc then here is a great review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7737178/
But, for those of you who just love to eat them, let’s look at why they are so good for us. Olives have monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) mainly oleic acid. MUFAs are about 74% if the total oil content in olives and oleic acid has been linked with lowering cholesterol, inflammation, blood pressure, heart disease and is a great choice for healthy cooking.
Extra virgin olive oil is the best option as it is the first oil extracted from the olive and, apart from the great fatty acids, it has vitamins E and K. Extra virgin olive oil has stronger antioxidant properties than olive oil as it has been processed less and as you know, antioxidants can help reduce inflammation.
You can use extra virgin olive oil in salad dressings and cooking so it’s an easy way to include some extra antioxidants into your world.