Let’s take a closer look at five benefits of adding olives and olive oil to your diet:
1. They protect against colon, breast and skin cancer
Olives and olive oil contain an abundance of phenolic antioxidants as well as the anti-cancer compounds squalene and terpenoid. They also contain high levels of the monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, which reduces excessive inflammation.
2. Olive oil is good for your heart
Olive oil contains biophenols, which suppress the oxidization of LDL (or “bad cholesterol”) which has been shown to play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease. High levels of LDL in the blood amplify oxidative stress which hardens the arterial walls (called atherosclerosis). The biophenols in olives reduce blood pressure, therefore reducing the development of arterial plaque as well.
3. They work to reduce pain
Olives contain a compound called oleocanthal that has strong anti-inflammatory properties, mimicking the action of ibuprofen. Olive oil naturally reduces the pain of chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and can be added to a daily diet to aid in pain reduction.
4. Olives and olive oil may protect against ulcers
The antimicrobial properties in olives and olive oil may help to combat the bacteria responsible for causing stomach ulcers. Studies have shown their high levels of polyphenols protect against eight strains of ulcer-causing bacteria, three of which are resistant to some antibiotics.
5. Eating olives will help to boost your iron intake
Olives contain a substantial amount of iron, a key factor in the formation of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen throughout the body via the bloodstream. Iron also helps to build the enzymes responsible for regulating immune function and cognitive development.