They are the fruits of the olive tree that have been cultivated for more than 5000 years in the Mediterranean. Its oldest cultivation is found to be in what is now Jordan. Olives are cultivated in autumn and winter for olive oil, fine wood, olive leaf and the fruit. They are either green or black in color though the color does not signify its maturity. They are mostly available bottled as they are naturally bitter and hence are cured with lyre, salt or brine.
Olives are widely used in Italian, Spanish and Greek cooking. It is mostly used as an additive to various recipes and salads. Olive oil that is extracted from the seed is used in cooking extensively as an alternative for regular oil .It is also applied on skin and hair for their good health. Olive leaves have been used as a medicine for a very long time to treat viral, bacteria and infection related problems.
1. It contains monounsaturated fats that help lower blood pressure.
2. It is a very rich source of antioxidants like Vitamin E and minerals like selenium and zinc. It is particularly rich in a phytonutrient oleuropein and thus helps against the damaging free radicals released during metabolism. It also helps lower LDL cholesterol.
3. The phytonutrients that are present in olives have anti-inflammatory properties and help against inflammation related diseases like arthritis and cardiovascular diseases.
4. Due to its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, olives have proved to be very effective in protecting against cancer, specially stomach and breast cancer.
5. Olives are high fat food; therefore reduced consumption is suggested for people watching their fat intake.
Did you know?
Winners in the Olympic Games were crowned with wreaths of olive leaves, and, for centuries, the olive branch represented a symbol of peace.