Growing up on our small farm and working in the family vegetable garden, my sister and I were fortunate to have our choice of many fresh foods to add to meals on our kitchen table.
Any other edible items that found their way onto our plates had to be purchased at the grocery store, mainly because they couldn’t be grown in our climate zone.
One of the more “exotic” foods we would get was olives.
My sister loved them and would eat them right out of the jar if Mom didn’t slow her down. I had no use for these bizarre looking and funny tasting imported items that were masquerading as food.
Fast forward quite a few years and, guess what, now I love olives! So what was it that caused me to change my tune about the desirability of these odd tasting little ovals?
Mainly it was my desire to eat a healthier diet as I aged. (Not that there was anything unhealthy about those standard garden vegetables from the days of my youth!)
As I started to learn more about other healthy foods, I added in other great alternatives to my diet like avocados, artichokes, kiwis, and those once mysterious olives.
Here are some of the things I have learned about the health benefits of adding olives and olive oil into one’s diet:
Olives are high in Vitamin E and other antioxidants, making them heart healthy and valuable in preventing cancer and osteoporosis.
Olive oil is an important part of the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to increase longevity, improve brain health, and lead to weight control and general well-being.
The healthy fats in olives help lower bad cholesterol, improve blood sugar and lessen the risk of type II diabetes.
They actually improve blood circulation and provide anti-inflammatory benefits to the body.
Adding olive oil to your diet increases your level of carotenoids that are important in maintaining good eye health.
The healthy fats and fiber found in olives provide a greater feeling of fullness than sugary or salty snacks, making them a better choice for a snack food when one feels the need to munch.
I guess my sister’s taste buds knew what they were telling her after all!