Olives are also fruits, fruit of the Olea europaea tree. Olea is latin for “oil”. Olives are also high in fat, the healthy fat oleic acid mentioned above. They are made up of 75% of this healthy monounsaturated fat. They are full of antioxidants and promote health on many levels. Olives cannot be eaten right off the tree, they must go through a lengthy process to reduce the bitterness in their skin.
Olives’ antioxidant power promotes cellular health with their concentration of vitamin E, a fat soluble vitamin, and the monounsaturated fats. They also contain a variety of other phytonutrients, like polyphenolic compounds, oleuropein and hydroxytrosol!! Olives promote heart health and fight inflammation via these antioxidant phytonutrients. This includes reducing the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Other nutrients include iron, copper, and fiber.
While olive oil is a healthy oil, the best way to use any food is in its whole form, therefore eating olives trumps using olive oil! Try a variety of olives, buy them in jars or in the deli section of the market. You can buy them with or without the pits, or even stuffed, each offering a different experience. Olives are high in fat, healthy fat though it is, so they are also somewhat calorie dense so they should be eaten and enjoyed in moderation. Try adding them to other dishes, like salads, use them in a tapenade and serve over fish or chicken.