Having recently celebrated World Health Day* on the 7th of April, and before tucking into our chocolate eggs, it is worth giving a nod to the sometimes underestimated health benefits of table olives**.
Sure, olives are delicious and fun to eat. But do you know how good they are to your health? Here are our top five health benefits of olives and why you should feel great about eating more olives every day:
1. Trust your Gut
It can be easy to forget that olives are actually fermented food. Not only jam-packed with dietary fibre, olives are also rich in the gut-friendly bacteria called Lactobacillus. Adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your intestinal flora is important for maintaining digestive health and increasing the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system. All of this in turn may also enhance your immune function. How good is that?
2. Let It Glow
The fatty acids, antioxidants, Vitamin E and Vitamin in olives nourish and hydrate both the skin and hair. Vitamin E is the most potent of all the antioxidants in olives; it helps nourish your scalp and increase blood flow to it by aiding in the formation of new blood capillaries. Vitamin A balances the skin’s pH which is essential for healthy, supple, and younger-looking skin.
3. Feel it in your Bones
Studies have established that antioxidants and anti-inflammatory micronutrients like polyphenols and oleocanthal in olives are essential in the prevention of bone disorders like osteoporosis, especially common in women, as well as in keeping arthritis at bay.
4. Sharpen your Mind
Polyphenols are natural-occurring chemicals that are found in olives. These chemicals are proven to reduce stress in the brain which leads to a strong and sharper mind. And since the brain is largely made of fatty acids, the monounsaturated fatty acids along with the polyphenols in olives help preserve memory and even improve focus, therefore lowering the risk of memory related diseases.
5. Have Heart
We hear you when you say “but olives are high in fat!” Yes they are but it’s the healthy monounsaturated kind, which is also found in nuts and avocados. These fats have been found to shrink the risk of atherosclerosis and increase good cholesterol.
Eating olives in addition to more vegetables and fruits is a small positive change that will benefit your health for the long term.
Notes: Although olives are salty, containing about 60 mg of sodium per olive, you can reduce the saltiness of your olives by diluting the brine with plain water or rinsing them before consumption.
Be sure to “T.A.S.T.E” your table olives.
“To ensure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” – William Londen
*World Health day is celebrated annually to draw attention to a health topic of concern to people all over the world. This year the focus was on creating societies that prioritise the well-being of individuals. Buying groceries from local producers and avoiding highly processed foods is one of the actions promoted by WHO this year.
** Read more about the health benefits of table olives.
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About SA Olive
SA Olive is an association representing the common interests of the South African olive industry and is committed to ensuring a healthy future for its members, healthy growth and development for the industry and a healthy lifestyle for all South Africans.