I was not very fond of olives when I was younger, and I was not sure what the reason was. It was not until I started traveling throughout Mediterranean countries, that I realized the benefits and significance of olives.
While traveling, I learned many interesting things about olives.
For instance, olives are one of the plants that are often cited in the literature (Homer’s Odyssey, the Bible, and the Quran).
A dove brought an olive leaf back to Noah when the flood was over. Why olive?
In Greek myths, olive has a very important role. Thus, Athena won the patron ship of Attica from Poseidon with olive as a gift.
Olives, as a symbol of peace, glory, and abundance, were used to crown the victors in both games and wars. Moreover, olives were offered to deities (scientist even found some olives in Tutankhamen’s tomb). Over time, olives gained more respect and became a symbol of wisdom, purity, and fertility.
Since I heard all above-mentioned, olives are a must on my table and in my nutrition.
Nutritional Benefits of Olives – What are they?
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This evergreen tree or shrub is native to the Mediterranean, Asia, and Africa. Olea europaea is from the family Oleaceae, with six natural species that are distributed all over the world.
Olives provide 115 calories per 100 grams, but their calories come from fats. These fats are healthy because they are in the form of mono-unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid and palmitoleic acid, which, on the other hand, help lower the “bad cholesterol”.
Olives get their bitter and pungent taste from compounds such as oleuropein and oleocanthal, which are one of the most powerful antioxidants. They help treat inflammations, coronary artery disease, and diabetes. Moreover, oleocanthal has ibuprofen activities.
Vitamin E is another significant compound found in olives. This powerful lipid soluble antioxidant is essential for skin and for protection from free radicals.
Olives also contain good amount of manganese, zinc, calcium, copper, and iron, and small amount of niacin, choline, and panthothenic acid, that is B-complex vitamins.
Green and Black Olives – What is the difference?
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Is there a difference between green and black olives nutritional benefits?
One of the common questions is about their different color. This difference is a result of the time of harvesting. Green ones are picked before they ripe, while the black are allowed to ripe on the tree. Green olives are soaked in a solution containing lye and fermented in brine as well as black olives, but green olives are usually stuffed with other vegetables.
The nutritional value is almost identical; the only difference is in the sodium content. Green olives contain twice as much sodium as black olives. Another difference is in their calories – 15 grams of green olives contain 20 calories, while black olives contain 25 calories for the same amount.