Wellhealthorganic.com : 11 Health Benefits and Side Effects of Olives Benefits of Olives. Olives are a type of fruit that is often used in cooking, especially in Mediterranean cuisine. They are small and oval-shaped, with a hard pit in the center. Olives come in different colors, including black, green, and red, and they are available in different forms, such as whole, sliced, or pitted. In this article, we will discuss the health benefits and side effects of olives.
What are Olives?
Olives are the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea), which is native to the Mediterranean region. They have been cultivated for thousands of years, and their use can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and the Romans. Olives are typically picked when they are green or black, although some varieties are picked when they are red. They are commonly used in cooking, especially in Mediterranean cuisine, and they can be eaten raw or processed into oil.
Nutritional Value of Olives
Olives are a good source of healthy fats, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. A 100-gram serving of olives contains:
- Calories: 115
- Fat: 10.7 grams
- Protein: 0.8 grams
- Carbohydrates: 6.3 grams
- Fiber: 3.2 grams
- Vitamin E: 3.8 mg
- Iron: 0.5 mg
- Calcium: 52 mg
- Sodium: 1,126 mg
- Potassium: 42 mg
Health Benefits of Olives
May Help Lower Cholesterol Levels
Olives contain monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which have been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol that can build up in the arteries and increase the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that consuming olives or olive oil can help lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels, which is the “good” cholesterol that helps remove LDL from the body.
May Help Prevent Cancer
Olives contain antioxidants, which are compounds that can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of cancer. Studies have shown that the antioxidants in olives may help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells.
May Help Reduce Inflammation
Olives contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, such as oleocanthal. Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Consuming olives or olive oil may help reduce inflammation in the body.
May Help Improve Bone Health
Olives are a good source of calcium, which is important for bone health. Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth, and it also plays a role in muscle function
May Help Boost Immune System
Olives contain compounds that have immune-boosting properties, such as polyphenols and flavonoids. These compounds help protect the body against infections and diseases by stimulating the immune system.
May Help Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Olives contain MUFAs and antioxidants, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that consuming olives or olive oil can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels.
May Help Control Blood Sugar Levels
Olives have a low glycemic index, which means they have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels. This makes them a good choice for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes. Studies have shown that consuming olives or olive oil can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.
May Help Improve Digestion
Olives are a good source of fiber, which is important for digestive health. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Consuming olives or olive oil may help improve digestion and prevent digestive disorders such as constipation and diarrhea.
May Help Relieve Constipation
Olives contain a natural laxative called oleic acid, which can help relieve constipation. Oleic acid helps lubricate the bowel and soften stool, making it easier to pass.
May Help Reduce the Risk of Depression
Olives contain compounds that have mood-boosting properties, such as polyphenols and vitamin E. Studies have shown that consuming olives or olive oil may help reduce the risk of depression and improve overall mood.
Side Effects of Olives
While olives are generally safe to consume, some people may experience side effects. These include:
May Cause Allergic Reactions
Some people may be allergic to olives and may experience symptoms such as itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
May Cause Stomach Upset
Eating too many olives may cause stomach upset, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
May Interfere with Iron Absorption
Olives contain compounds that can interfere with the absorption of iron from plant-based sources. This may be a concern for people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Olives are a nutritious fruit that offers many health benefits. They contain healthy fats, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals, and may help lower cholesterol levels, prevent cancer, reduce inflammation, improve bone health, boost the immune system, prevent cardiovascular disease, control blood sugar levels, improve digestion, relieve constipation, and reduce the risk of depression. However, they may also cause side effects such as allergic reactions, stomach upset, and interfere with iron absorption. As with any food, it’s important to consume olives in moderation and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.