What’s in an olive?

Exotic charm and benefits for your heart

OlivesIf you like trying different kinds of food, chances are you have already tried olives. Olives are considered exotic and they instantly make a dish or a drink look international. Unfortunately, olives aren’t as popular as the oil derived from them, which is considered one of the healthiest. This is because, olives are still largely eaten for their glam factor rather than their health benefits, which they offer in abundance.

Eat olives because…

Olives have high fat content. But much of the fat they contain is the good variety [MUFA—Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid] that doesn’t stick to the blood vessels and form plaque. It’s the plaque build-up that causes heart attacks and stroke.

Consuming MUFA reduces chances of cell damage and inflammation and improves our good cholesterol: bad cholesterol ratio. MUFA also helps in controlling blood sugar and triglycerides and hence is good for those with diabetes.

Olives are abundant in anti-oxidants that help the body fight the ill-effects of ageing, smoking, heavy drinking, exposure to UV radiation and pollution, stress and excessive exercise. The antioxidants also protect the body against chronic conditions like cardiac problems, digestives issues, ulcers, cancers, respiratory problems and neurological complications. Black olives are richer in anti-oxidants than green olives.

Those who are deficient in iron benefit from eating olives.

Studies suggest that olives contain a certain compound that helps reduce loss of total bone mass, decreasing one’s risk of osteoporosis.

Pair olives with…

Olives taste well with cheese, wine and martini. Black olives are found in salads and on pizzas, whereas green olives are popularly used to add colour to the dish. Some dishes that taste awesome with olives:

  • Bread, sandwiches
  • Pasta/ noodles
  • Chicken/meatballs/ turkey stuffing
  • Sauces/soups/stews
  • Bhajiyas/pakoras especially paneer/tofu or cheese pakoras
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Omelettes and waffles
  • Chaat
  • Dips with cheese or thick yoghurt
  • Cracker toppings
  • Veggie patties/cutlets
  • Kebabs/falafels
  • Baked dishes

[contd.]

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