You can put them in a cocktail, or place them on your fingers for a trip down childhood memory lane. Yes, we’re talking about olives. These oval shaped fruits are not only fun for kids and adults, but they are extremely healthy.
Grown on an olive tree, also known as the Olea europaea, these small black or green fruits are native to the Mediterranean, Asia, and Africa. They are also rich in iron, calcium, fiber, copper, vitamin K, Vitamin E and sodium. And when you eat them, this is what happens to your body.
1. Experience weight loss/ improved weight control
Olives have Monounsaturated fats and fiber. These are two extremely filling components that leave you feeling satisfied. In addition to that awesomeness, olives have a they have a ‘negative calorie load’, which means it takes more calories to digest an olive than the olive itself. And then there’s also those good fatty acids that stimulate the production of adiponectin, which is a chemical that burns fat for five hours after ingestion.
2. Your heart will be protected
The main fatty acid found in olives is heart-healthy, oleic acid. This healthy fat has been found to improve heart health, regulate cholesterol levels and protect the LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from oxidation. Some studies have found that olives and olive oil are able to reduce blood pressure.
Several studies including this one conducted in both Spain and Italy, reviewed 140,000 participants who consumed olive oil, finding those who did were at a much lower risk of stroke than those who did not. And while olive oil is not the same as olives, it is the same healthy fat with the same healthful benefits.
3. You’ll have a healthy immune system
Olives contain antioxidants, particularly the polyphenol known as oleuropein which you can only get from plants. These powerful chemicals have been shown to bea protect and even rid the body of harmful free radicals that cause viral infections and even diseases — essentially giving your immune system a healthy boost.
4. You’ll be protected against some cancers
Because of of this fruit’s ability to boost your immune system and protect against diseases, it also has the power to protect cell membranes against cancer. Many test tube studies have confirmed these findings. And while no tests have been conducted on humans, it is interesting to note that in the Mediterranean region where olives originate and are commonly consumed, the incidence of cancer is lower than in other European or American countries.
5. Your memory will improve
Oleuropein isn’t just helpful in keeping your body healthy, but your mind, too! Polyphenols help cut oxidative stress in the brain, and as a result can help boost memory. In fact, research conducted by the Department of Neurosurgery, University of California has found that polyphenols like the ones found in olives have a positive impact on brain function, neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders.
6. Have improved reproductive health and fertility
Antioxidants are basically superheroes when it comes to health. Antioxidants have the ability to deactivate free radicals in your body that play a huge role in damaging both sperm and egg cells that can lead to infertility.
One study of young, adult men found that eating 75 grams of antioxidant-rich foods per day (in this case, it was walnuts) improved sperm quality. Another study followed 60 couples who were undergoing in-vitro fertilization. Researchers had the couples take an antioxidant supplement to see if fertility improved. The results were a 23 percent greater chance of becoming pregnant.
7. You may reduce wrinkles and improve skin health
Olives have two main components that help reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin health: Vitamin E and oleic acid. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects the skin against free radical damage, and may also have anti-inflammatory properties to help protect the skin. oleic acid, on the other hand, keeps skin healthy and soft.
Log story, short: If you want to lose weight and be more healthy, eat more olives.