Olives and Happy Hearts
Olive Oyl or Olive Oil?
We’re not talking about Popeye’s sweetheart Olive Oyl, but the delicious fruit of the olive tree. Yep, technically olives are considered a fruit, although we often refer to them as a vegetable. Green and black olives are actually the same fruit, but are picked at different points in their development.
Green olives are younger and tend to be more bitter. Olives are cured or pickled to make them edible and tasty. This can be done by leaving them for a time in brine, oil or water. For more fermented foods check our Best Kombucha Recipe in Amsterdam.
Besides eating the olives themselves, the most common product is olive oil of which riper black olives produce more.
Under the Spotlight
- Rich in oil, olives can contain from 15-35%. The type of olive oil is oleic acid, an omega 9 mono-unsaturated fatty acid
- The oils are also a source of flavonoids
- They are a good source of tocopherols (vitamin E), which are powerful antioxidants
Benefits to Your Health
Like many other vegetarian oil-rich foods, olives convey similar benefits:
- As part of the LDL cholesterol in our blood, mono-unsaturated fats as found in olives do not oxidise as easily as other fats and therefore won’t stick to artery walls
- May help lower triglycerides (an unhealthy fat and sugar combo that increases the risk of heart disease)
- Helps balance blood sugar
- May help prevent the oxidation of other fats that would otherwise stick to the blood vessels
- Lowers inflammation and therefore may have a positive effect on asthma, cancer and arthritis
- Have your cholesterol tested before and after replacing animal fats with olive oil
- The best olive oil is organic, cold-pressed, extra-virgin and stored in a dark glass bottle. This is the tastiest, has fewer chemicals and will last longer. Other olive oils are also fine to use.
- Cook with olive oil at low to medium temperatures; if your oil is smoking then you have damaged it
- Mix with balsamic vinegar for a simple dressing
- Use over vegetables rather than butter and then season with salt and pepper
- Look for online shops that specialise in high quality oils or go to a shop to start tasting and find out what you like best.
Have a look at last week’s Veggie of the Week.