You probably have never given much thought to olives, considering them an enjoyable addition to pizza or salad, but not good for much else. In fact, the oppostie is true. Olives are a closet nutritional powerhouse, full of amazing health benefits that can improve your energy, immune system, and even help you lose weight. Here are a few reasons to snack on olives every day.
For thousands of years, olive trees have been a staple of the Mediterranean diet and way of life. Not only were olives and olive oil essential parts of most meals, but the wood from the trees was used for fuel and construction.
Olives have been shown to increase glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione is a compound in the blood that is important to the energy production process. Having increased levels of this essential compound in the body can greatly improve your energy and stamina and help you to make it through that mid-afternoon slump.
Improve eye health
Vitamin A is one of the main antioxidants that can protect eye health and prevent numerous eye conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. Olives are an excellent source of this vitamin, making them a great choice for those who are deficient in vitamin A.
Help you lose weight
If you are looking to shed a few extra pounds, or find that you have trouble with appetite control, olives can become an excellent snack. This fruit is a fantastic source of healthy, monounsaturated fat which is an essential part of any diet. This type of fat is often linked to increased insulin sensitivity and a noted decrease in dangerous visceral belly fat. When you enjoy a small dish of olives before a meal, you will find that you feel more satisfied after a smaller amount of food. Plus, olives can aid in digestion due to their fiber content.
Once again, due to the impressive levels of healthy fat in olives, they have been shown to increase good cholesterol and encourage cardiovascular health.
Chronic inflammation is one of the greatest threats to the health of modern Americans. Thankfully, olives are one of those foods that allow your body to access more polyphenols, which, in turn, decreases inflammation in the body.
Not only do olives contain essential antioxidants and fatty acids, but they are also great sources of squalene and terpenoid, which are two compounds that can help decrease the damage done by free radicals. This means that olives can help restore the body’s cells to healthy levels and prevent cancer.
How to buy olives
Not all olives are created equal, so it is vital that you select the best quality in order to receive all of these amazing health benefits.
Shop local: Depending on where you live, it is possible to find local vendors and farmers that sell homegrown olives. Try looking locally first before you go to the grocery store.
Avoid cans: Canned olives are usually mass produced and sprayed with enough pesticides and chemicals that they barely resemble actual olives. Buy this fruit in jars. Or, better yet, if your grocery store offers bulk options, buy fresh olives.
Black or green: as long as you are eating pure olives without any added ingredients, you can choose black or green varieties. Both have equal health benefits and similar nutritional facts.
How to eat more olives
Knowing that you need to eat more olives, and actually incorporating more olives into your diet are two completely different things. Here are a few creative ways to eat more olives every day.
Add to rice
Adding olives to your rice can increase flavor and variety and make rice into a delicious side dish or even main meal.
Put in soup
Any type of savory soup tastes amazing with a few added olives. Plus, they add substance and can make the soup more interesting.
Eat with eggs
What better health pairing is there than olives and eggs? Mix sliced olives into your omelet or scrambled eggs along with bell peppers and cheddar cheese for a yummy heart-healthy breakfast.
Enjoy them as a snack
Enjoying around 3-5 olives before each meal is a good way to get an essential dose of healthy fat.
How do you eat more olives? Let us know in the comments below!