Benefits of Olives
As we all know the Mediterranean diet is good for our health, particularly our hearts[i] and olives form a big part of it in not one, but two ways!
One being in their raw form and the other as the oil that they are pressed to make.
So why are olives so good for us?
As you might guess by the fact that they are widely used for making oil, olives contain fat. This is not just any fat though; olives contain mainly unsaturated fats and very few saturated fats. Which is great because unsaturated fats can help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in our blood. This is good for the body because although we need some cholesterol to help make things like vitamin D, too much cholesterol can be a risk factor for heart disease.
Olives also contain an array of vitamin and minerals, including calcium and iron. Iron is super important as it helps us to form red blood cells which transport oxygen around our bodies. Without enough oxygen we can feel tired and fatigued so getting enough iron is important for keeping us feeling energised. All this and it also helps to support our immune system.
Meanwhile calcium, one of the most prevalent nutrients in the body, has many important functions which keep us healthy including keeping our teeth and bones healthy and strong (which is particularly important for children whose bones are growing and building strength), supporting our digestive function and helping our muscles to work properly.
These little green and black gems also contain phytochemicals (A Greek word that basically means plant chemicals). While one of the plant chemical functions is to provide the plant’s flavour and smell, some of these compounds have also been found to be active and have beneficial effects on human health. One of these benefits is preventing damage to our bodies cells which has been shown to reduce inflammation [ii]in the body and potentially lower our risk of some cancers[iii].
All of this and they are naturally low in sugar which means they make a great snack between meals as unlike a sugary snack they will provide slow energy release keeping you more satisfied until your next meal.
You do need to watch you don’t munch your way through too many each day as due to the way olives are preserved, they can be high in salt. However, our handy snack packs which contain two servings help you to regulate your intake!