Olives are good for your health

May 28, 2010  |  Foods: G - Z

This tiny fruit has big benefits.

You have probably heard that the Mediterranean diet is very good for you, and one of the reason is it contains olives.  They are small, green, and not sweet, but you should include them in every meal that you can.  Here’s why they are good for you.

Bite-size nutrition
Olives are bursting with antioxidants, monounsaturated fat, iron, vitamin E, and fiber.   According to John La Puma, MD, author of Chef MD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine, they may have the power to protect people from impotence, premature wrinkling, stroke, and heart disease. Lots of benefits.

Eating suggestions
You can buy olives at any grocery store.  You can also buy olive oil.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the best kind.

Whether you garnish your salad, pasta, or pizza with olives or olive oil, try these three tips:

  • Buy them whole, not pitted or stuffed, for the biggest dose of disease-blocking antioxidants and ingredients called polyphenols.
  • Choose black olives over green; they contain more cancer-preventing flavonoids (another cancer fighting ingredient).
  • Go dark with olive oil, too, for extra blood-clot-fighting polyphenols. And store it in a dark bottle. Here’s why.


Heart health benefits comparable to aspirin
Physicians routinely recommend that patients at risk for cardiovascular disease take low-dose aspirin because of its anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory action, which reduces the risk of a heart attack or ischemic stroke.  Olive oil may work just as well because of the polyphenols.

Source: Life Extension

Olive leaves have a long history of aiding people’s health
Recorded evidence of olive leaf’s medicinal use dates back thousands of years.  It was used by ancient Mediterranean cultures to treat a variety of health conditions.

Olive leaf is the first botanical cited in the Bible (Ezekiel 47:12) as a natural healer: “The fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.”

Nutritional and medicinal uses
Olive leaf is commonly used to fight colds and flu, yeast infections, and viral infections such as the hard-to-treat Epstein-Barr disease, shingles and herpes.

Olive leaf is also good for the heart. Olive leaf has shown to reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or bad cholesterol. Researchers have found that olive leaf lowers blood pressure and increase blood flow by relaxing the arteries.

Some recent research on the olive leaf has shown its antioxidants to be effective in treating some tumors and cancers such as liver, prostate and breast cancer but the research on this is preliminary.

Olive leaf can be taken as a dried leaf tea, powder or capsule. The leaf extracts can be taken in powder, liquid extract or capsule form though the fresh leaf liquid extracts are quickly gaining popularity due to the broader range of healing compounds they contain.

Olive leaf extract
Olive leaf extract is derived from the leaves of the olive tree.  You can buy olive leaves online or olive leaf extract.  Since olives don’t grow in most of the US, an extract is a typical alternative to dried leaves.

Side effects
These may be significant, and may include lowering blood pressure and blood glucose; both of these effects can be life-threatening. Sufferers of low blood pressure and diabetes are particularly at risk. Interactions with drugs which cause these effects may be dangerous.

Olive Leaf Extract is non-toxic. However, a “die off” reaction may occur from killing too many pathogens too quickly. This is experienced as “flu-like” symptoms or allergic attacks which pass quickly leaving the patient feeling much better than before taking the extract.

Olive Leaf Extract may inactivate antibiotics and should not be taken with them.

People taking warfarin (Coumadin™) should exercise caution. Olive Leaf Extract has a relaxing effect on blood vessels and may increase bleeding tendency.

Cheaper brands of the extract are now hitting the market. Not all are of equal quality. Please do your homework.

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