There are a lot of different uses for the olive. Many use olives as a garnish, or perhaps use the oil from an olive to prepare their food. Some even like to just eat olives by themselves, which is just fine. While not everybody likes the taste of an olive, those that do eat them more often will see some health benefits. Though they aren’t quite as nutritious as the grapes that they could resemble, there are still some things to like about the olive’s nutritional value.
So what type of benefits can you get from olives and the oil that comes from them? You might be a little surprised at some of the details, and you’ll learn what to look for on how many you should be eating. Here is a breakdown of the proven health benefits of olives.
Though olive oil is more common than eating olives on their own, we want to look at the nutritional value of the actual olive. In 3.5 ounces of olives, you are getting fewer than 150 calories, which is a pretty good ratio. There are plenty of vitamins to be found in olives, but the most abundant is vitamin E, which clocks in at 25 percent of your daily recommended value. Other significant vitamins include vitamin A, choline, thiamine and niacin.
Olives also have plenty of minerals in small amounts, with five percent of your daily recommendation of calcium. Other mineral sources include iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. You have to be a bit cautious with olives, as they contain a lot of sodium with 104 percent of your recommended value in each 3.5 ounce serving. While that word can scare people, sodium does serve a purpose.
The main benefit that you’ll be getting from eating more olives is from the antioxidant properties. Olives are packed with polyphenols, which help to prevent many different diseases that include cancer, diabetes and neurological problems. These antioxidants also help your blood flow more easily, allowing all of your organs to function more properly.
In addition to antioxidants, olives have an anti-inflammatory property that is similar to that of ibuprofen and other pain relievers. Much of the pain that you feel and many of the diseases that you contract are a result of inflammation and infection, meaning that olives can help out in both departments and make your overall quality of life better.
In the portion about the nutritional value, we pointed out that there is a low amount of calories in olives with under 150 in each 3.5 ounce serving. This makes olives a good low calorie snack or addition to your healthy meal. This is especially true with extra virgin olive oil, which has been shown to help you boost your metabolism and burn fat around your waistline that can be harder to lose.
Studies have even shown that the smell of olive oil alone can cause you to eat less and feel more full, allowing you to keep your portions under control. After all, eating fewer calories is the biggest part of weight loss by far, so keeping your portions smaller will allow you to lose weight. The Mediterranean Diet has been found to be the most successful overall, and olive oil is a big part of the diet.
Olives and olive oil will have a positive effect on your overall appearance, as you can boost the strength of both your skin and hair. Olives are high in vitamin E, which is an essential nutrient for your skin to battle against sun damage and early signs of aging. Olive oil has even been used in many different beauty products for both the skin and hair, and adding a few drops to warm water and using it on your skin will show a more glowing complexion and stronger hair.
Speaking of looking good, you can enhance your smile by eating more olives and olive oil. It has been shown that olives contain a compound that strengthen your bones, which also include your teeth (and the antioxidants will help you prevent getting bad breath). You may be able to increase the strength of your bones by eating more olives, which in turn will allow to prevent ailments such as osteoporosis.
If you find yourself already with joint or bone pain, you can still alleviate some of that pain with olives. As we mentioned, there is an anti-inflammatory property with olives that reduce pain. Though you shouldn’t depend only on a diet of olives to keep pain away, every little bit will help and the phytonutrients in olives will be a big boost in that battle.
Olive oil has been shown to help your blood in many different ways, including lowering your chance of getting diabetes. Olives have plenty of monounsaturated fats and promote relief for blood oxidation, which is a big part of preventing diabetes. Studies have shown that those who used olive oil instead of oils that had saturated fats were much less likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.
These same patients also had a lower overall weight, which again backs up the point about weight control. The iron content in olive oil will also help you to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, making it the more heart healthy option. People don’t tend to think about their blood health until a problem has already started, so make sure to consider it for your overall health.
Summing it Up
Olives are considered to be a superfood by many, but like any food, it’s not exactly perfect. There are some people that are allergic to olives, so they have to stay completely away. If not, it can cause breakouts and rashes, and even some more adverse effects. If you are not allergic to olives, you just need to watch the sodium count.
Too much sodium can cause you to experience dehydration and possible heart problems if you go too far over your daily recommendation. This is why you shouldn’t count on olives as your everyday go-to snack, but instead an option that you pick up a couple of times each week. As long as you are mindful of what you are eating and keeping track of nutrients, you shouldn’t have any problem incorporating olives into your diet.