Sure, we can thank Rachael Ray for the now ubiquitous “EVOO” (extra virgin olive oil) dub. But it was Athena herself, the Greek goddess of wisdom, with whom the olive originated. It was her gift to the people in hopes of winning Greece’s greatest city, and alas, Athens was born. Her offering of the olive tree, providing shade, oil and little round fruits (yes, olives are fruit) wooed the ancient Greeks, and continues to create culinary bliss thousands of years later.
Apparently those Greeks knew what they were talking about, as olives contain a powerhouse of health and beauty benefits. If the only place you like your olives is on your pizza (or in your martini), here are ten reasons to start diversifying your olive-eating portfolio.
- Olives and their oil are one of the highest natural sources of vitamin E, keeping your skin looking young (one of our 7 Superfoods to Reduce the Signs of Aging). Moreover, alleviating symptoms of menopause, like those pesky hot flashes
- Olives have anti-inflammatory benefits, combating things like asthma and arthritis
- A source of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that are heart healthy and also purported to help with depression
- The highest fruit in calcium, carrying twice as much as oranges (by weight)
- High is polyphenols that display anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties
- The combo of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats in olives helps protect cells against free radicals, keeping your DNA in check and your arteries free flowing
- Olives are a great body-building food, having a similar protein-to-fat ratio as red meat
- Olives contain eye-healthy lutein that may also fight against premature aging of your skin
- Olives are an awesome detox food, with fiber that keeps the colon cleansed and constipation at bay
- Olives are loaded with minerals that give the body more energy and strength; who needs a mineral supplement?!
Keep in mind, selection is key. In choosing olives for flavor and nutrition, opt for those that have been traditionally cured as opposed to lye processed. Meaning, pass on anything canned and go for the jarred, organic ones.
image: Miss Yasmina