Superfood 101: Olives!

Olives are another of the ancient fruits that have been used throughout the centuries as food and healing aids. Some olive groves are the oldest living plants in the world. The tree originated in Asia Minor and Assyria as a bush, where it was cultivated by using the root or branches (not the seed) and developed into trees. They are a warm climate plant, flourishing in the Mediterranean basin, and immigrated to the Americas where they thrive in the subtropical zones of Latin America and areas of California. Ayurveda uses only the leaves for healing of inflammation, but the olive is used for a variety of things in the holistic healing community . The fruit cannot be eaten from the tree and must be cured first; there are several methods used depending on the location.

Olives are found in a variety of colors, but they are all the same fruit in different stages of maturity.  The fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals, has a high fiber content and contains iron, copper, phenolic compounds, oleic acid, and a variety of antioxidants.

Here are 4 more reasons to enjoy olives:

1. Olives are beneficial to heart health. They are high in oleic acid, which is linked to the prevention of heart disease. The fruit lowers blood pressure, curtailing the risk of cardiovascular complications – olives are rich in hydroxytyrosol, which acts as an anticoagulant, reducing the chance of blood clots. It also eases the tension on the blood vessels and dilates blood vessels, which increases blood flow.

2. Rich in phenolic compounds, olives are linked to cancer prevention. They contain anthocyanins – a substance known to prevent cancer as an antioxidant that defends the body against free radicals that mutate healthy cells. It also works to prevent the mutation of DNA and abnormal cell growth.

3. As an anti-inflammatory, olives are used for arthritis, gout and other rheumatic conditions. They are also beneficial when dealing with joint irritation, tendon and muscle injuries, and other inflammatory disorders. Eating olives will alleviate the pain caused by these maladies.

4. Olives are rich in fiber, which aids digestion by stimulating the peristaltic action of the intestines, and thus induces regular evacuation of the bowels. Fiber is filling, which reduces the amount of food intake and thus overeating; as a result, this increases the efficiency of the digestive process. Fiber also works to eliminate excess cholesterol in the blood stream.

Olives are a diverse and versatile fruit that can be ground into spread, included in salads, incorporated into stews and sauces, used as a garnish in dishes or cocktails, or eaten as a snack. They have become part of the daily menu in many countries and are becoming more prevalent on American menus.

Recipe: Nachos with Olives

Use 1 9x13 baking pan and 1 mixing bowl

Pre-heat oven 350 degrees F

Ingredients

1          large bag          organic corn chips

1          can                   organic refried black beans

3          jars                  organic salsa

3          12 oz. pkgs.    organic Mexican fiesta mix grated cheese or

4 ½      cups                favorite organic cheese grated

1          jar                    organic black olives, diced.

1          large                organic onion

1          clove                organic garlic

1          pint                 organic sour cream

Directions

Prepare bean mixture:

1. Dice the organic onion, garlic and black olives

2. Once diced, put in the mixing bowl.

3. Add the can of refried black beans and one jar of salsa.

4. Combine thoroughly.

Instructions:

In the baking pan

1. Pour one half of a jar of salsa in the bottom of the baking pan.

2. Spread one layer of corn chips over the salsa.

3. Spread half of the bean mixture over the corn chips.

4. Sprinkle a package-and-a-half of the grated cheese or 2 ¼ cups of your favorite grated cheese over the bean mixture.

5. Spread another layer of corn chips over the cheese.

6. Spread the remainder of the bean mixture over the corn chips.

7. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the bean mixture.

8. Cover the cheese layer with the remainder of the corn chips.

9. Spread the remainder of the salsa over the top.

10. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is thoroughly melted.

11. Serve in the baking pan with the sour cream on the side.

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