Olives are not only a delicious fruit they are also packed with healthful benefits. There are hundreds of varieties and just as many ways to incorporate them into your diet.
Everyone’s heard the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” well it works just as well with olives. Even if it’s only a snack, including olives can help improve your overall health. Check out these unique ways to perk up your diet with olives, what types to use, and the health benefits you’ll get from them.
Olives make a great addition to a fresh green salad. Kalamata is a Greek olive that’s unlike most olives due to its deep purple color. Usually brined and pickled, they have a rich, sweet flavor. Like all olives, Kalamata is a great source of monounsaturated fat, which can help lower your cholesterol and reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack.
If you’re getting the munchies during the middle of the day, snack on some Manzanilla olives. This small to medium green olive is grown in Spain and California. It is usually stuffed with pimentos or garlic. Just five Manzanilla olives hold one gram of vitamin E, so a healthy snack can put you well on your way to an RDA of 15 grams, helping you fight bacteria and viruses and boosting your level of antioxidants.
Make a tasty dip by adding finely chopped olives to your guacamole. Lugano olives are a good choice. They originate from Switzerland but are grown in Italy. They are black with a bitter, salty flavor. Like many olives, these are rich in hydroxytyrosol, which has been linked to the prevention of breast cancer.
Give your favorite Italian meal an extra punch with some sliced Ponentine olives. This is a black Italian olive that is brine cured. It has a delicate taste that lends itself to pasta. They contain vitamins A, E and K as well as calcium and iron and contribute to a healthy immune system as well as teeth and bone health.
Add a light, nutty flavor to your homemade bread by adding Nicoise olives. It’s a French, black olive that is small in size and adds the perfect texture and flavor to soft bread. Not only do these olives have the aforementioned benefits, they also help to stimulate digestive processes and break down carbohydrates.
Picholine is another French favorite. This green olive is brine-cured then pickled. It has a mild, salty taste which makes it a great addition to a salad Nicoise. Like other olive varieties, Picholines may be able to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Go all out with an olive tapenade, made by pulsing olives in a blender along with lemons juice, fresh parsley, capers and olive oil. Serve this smooth delicacy with toasted bread or crackers. You can experiment with a combination of olives for this one and reap the benefits of an entrée loaded with vitamins and minerals that will boost your heart health, aid digestion and reduce your risk of inflammatory diseases.
Don’t forget you can enjoy all the health benefits of olives by using olive oil in your cooking.