The olives are the small, bitter taste fruit formed from the ovary of the olive flower of the tree olea europea. They are found abundantly in countries of the Mediterranean coast including Portugal , southern Asia, east China , Saudi Arabia , Argentina, Norfolk Island, California and Bermuda.
Olives because of its bitter taste are unable to eat straight from the tree. They are usually first soaked in brine for couple of months and then used in savoury dishes and snacks. Olive oil is made by pressing whole olives. Olive oil is commonly used in cooking , salad dressings as well as for hair and skin care. Olives can be picked up to make oil or pickled when they are unripe and green. The oil made from unripe fresh fruit is called extra virgin oil. Olives when left on tree turned purplish black . In either ways olives can’t be eaten fresh.
Nutrition facts of Olive
Olives are the low calories food used in savoury dishes and salads. 100 grams of canned or pickled olive contains;
- 145 calories
- 3.8 grams carbohydrates
- 15.3 grams fat
- 3.3 grams fiber
- 1,556 milligrams sodium
- 3.8 milligrams vitamin E
- 393 IU vitamin A
- 0.1 milligram copper
- 52 milligrams calcium
- 0.5 milligram iron
- 11 milligrams magnesium
Health benefits of olives
- Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids
Olives are rich in fats . Almost 74 % of which are oleic acid , which is a type of monounsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fatty acids are linked with several health benefits which includes;
- Decrease in inflammation and relieves pain
- Reduce risk of heart diseases by lowering the level of bad cholesterol in blood
- Anti cancer properties . Studies reveal, those who consume Mediterranean diet with large amount of olives have lower risks of developing cancer and tumours.
- Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity
- Antioxidant properties
Olives are rich in antioxidants vitamin E , selenium and zinc as well as phytonutrient oleuropein. Oleuropein is exclusively found in olives which helps to decrease oxidation of LDL . It also helps to protect oxygen related damage to nerve cells, increases the level of glutathione in blood. Glutathione is an important anti oxidant that is capable of preventing damage to the nerve cells caused by free radicals. The vitamin E content of olive is more in green olives and tend to decrease with ripening.Therefore the extra virgin olive oil made from fresh olives have the maximum amount of vitamin E , which itself is a powerful antioxidant.
Olive oil provide variety of health benefits, if consumed on regular basis. They are rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids and contains 0 percent of sodium . They are rich in antioxidants especially beneficial polyphenols which gets lost during processing whole olives in brine. The oleuropein content is more in olive oil than olives which gives the characteristic bitter taste to fresh olives.
How to use olive oil in foods
- Olive oil makes an excellent salad dressing when mixed with lemon, salt and pepper.
- Vegetables can be sautéed in olive oil and added in rice ,pasta and noodles.
- Polish meat, chicken, fish and kebabs before grilling to give extra flavour to your savoury.
- Make a tasty hummus by mixing boiled chick peas , lemon, garlic, olive oil, salt , pepper and cumin in grinder.
- Toast your bread with chopped garlic and olive oil to make a delicious garlic bread.