Why You Should Eat Olives Every Day
Written by: Kavata Kithome
Looking back on my parents’ diet, they ate some of the weirdest food with pure elation. I remember as a child, my parents encouraged us to explore different foods and, as expected, I would curiously try some of their foods, but often was disappointed; I was always a tough crowd.
There was a day, however, when I watched my father eating olives (he has a flair for eating his food). On that day, he was eating green olives from the jar; he popped one of them in his mouth, immediately closed his eyes and savoured the fatty goodness of each olive. I was intrigued. I decided to wait until he went to work so that I could “steal” his olives (I actually thought they were grapes, which I loved).
Needless to say, I didn’t have the same reaction my father had when I popped one in my mouth. Admittedly when I was a kid, olives were foods I just didn’t quite get. They were salty and had a pit in the middle, nothing like the sweet juiciness of grapes.
Now that I am older and wiser, I can tell you that my parents were on to something. Aside for my love of tea, at Fitlife, I am the resident olive eater, my favorites are Kalamata.
I fell in love all over again with olives during my transformation. They were the fat I would eat during my juice fast days. Olives pack such a healthy punch, that working more of them into your diet is one of those no-brainer health-boosters nobody should miss out on. With all the varieties there are to choose from – roughly 500 or so – there is an olive to suit virtually every taste.
As a health coach, I find ways to incorporate these pitted and unpitted powerhouses and enjoy the benefits they can bestow from head to toe. Here’s why:
1. They’re An Anti-Inflammatory Antidote
Anything you can do to tamp down inflammation is a step in the right direction – and olives can help. Working them into your regular dietary repertoire will give your body more access to polyphenols, oleuropein in particular, a chemical compound known for its powerful antioxidant, anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
Better yet, those delicious polyphenols help cut oxidative stress in the brain and can help boost memory. In other words, olives are also a great way to feed your head.
2. They Support Your Cardiovascular Health
Tucked inside each olive is fat – the healthy, monounsaturated kind, which helps boost good cholesterol and reduces the risk for hardening of the arteries. The monounsaturated fat in olives also contains oleic acid, which is linked to lower blood pressure and better cardiovascular health overall.
3. They’re Great For Your Eyes And Skin
Olives are rich in vitamin A, an antioxidant that’s essential for protecting the cornea and maintaining eye health. It can help fend off age-related eye problems such as macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma and – when it comes to skin – can help reduce wrinkles.
Olives also include vitamin E as well as the antioxidant compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, all of which offer additional eye and skin health support.
4. They Can Help Keep You Trim
Looking to reach a healthy weight? Olives can help here, too, thanks to those monounsaturated fats, which are linked to belly fat loss and better insulin sensitivity.
To help curb appetite in a healthy way, before sitting down to lunch or dinner, try snacking on a small serving of olives. The monounsaturated fatty acids (plus a bit of fiber) in the olives will help aid digestion and stimulate satiety hormones, so you’ll feel fuller sooner. This is why they were a great snack during my juice fast.
5. They’ll Give You More Energy
There have been studies that measured significant increases in glutathione levels in the blood after eating olives. Glutathione is essential to energy production, so getting enough of the stuff can be the difference between a vibrant, active life and one that’s anything but.
In addition, olives – particularly black olives – deliver a nice dose of iron, which is important for energy production and immune system function, so dig in to keep levels high.
How To Buy The Best Olives:
Okay, now that you are convinced, it’s time to get some olives! You’re at the market, staring at a wall of olives and not so sure where to start. Here are a few tips on what to look for:
1. Head to the local farmers’ market and look for small-batch, artisanal vendors to get the best, close-to-organic quality.
2. Opt for organic. If you’re buying bottled olives, look for organic brands that have been “traditionally cured” in order to avoid the olives that have been cured with lye.
3. Skip the cans. They are more likely to be sprayed with pesticides during the growing process and then treated with harsh chemicals like lye to speed curing during processing.
4. Buy in bulk and buy the fresher, high-turnover olives you’ll usually find in bins at the market. Buying just the amount you need from the bins will also make it easier to taste-test and find the olives that appeal most to your taste buds.
For those who have never tried olives or don’t like them, please know there is an olive out there waiting just for your particular taste bud. I am not a fan of the all the extra flavoring in my olives. I like mine nice and simple, with vinegar, water and sea salt and that is why Kalamata olives are perfect for me.
I challenge you to try them until you find the type that you love, then share your newfound favorite in the comments below.
Kavata Kithome is an advocate for living your best life, full of health and longevity. While working closely with gym owners and personal trainers, she was able to sculpt a well-rounded view of fitness and understands how to incorporate it with a healthy balanced diet. She is a regular contributor to the One More Step Lifestyle brand.
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