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Olives Nutrition: 9 Health Benefits

Small but mighty, olives pack a nutritional punch! In fact, olives offer a delicious dose of Vitamin E, Vitamin A, calcium and magnesium, along with powerful phytonutrients and healing antioxidants. Because of this, olives health benefits include the ability to lower inflammation, boost heart health, fight infections, and more.

Olives Health Benefits

1. Provide the Body with Antioxidants

Foremost, olives health benefits boast a high antioxidant content. Olives are especially high in antioxidants called polyphenols. Studies have shown that polyphenols have anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-aging, and neuroprotective properties. Wow! Thanks to these powerful antioxidants, olives can prevent or help fight diseases like heart disease and cancer. (1)

2. Lower Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure

Olives health benefits next include the ability to lower cholesterol levels. You see, olives provide the body with healthy fats that help fight inflammation. As a result, olive nutrition can also help lower blood pressure and fight hypertension. (2, 3)

3. Relieve Pain

Also thanks to the healthy fats they contain, olives can relieve pain by fighting inflammation in the body. For example, olives inhibit the growth of enzymes that create inflammation, much like ibuprofen. But about 2 ounces of olive oil only has about 10% of the pain relieving dose of ibuprofen. So drizzling some EVOO on your salad isn't going to stop a headache, but it's almost like taking a baby aspirin daily. (4) olives health benefits

4. Treat and Prevent Cancer

Olives are considered to be a cancer-fighting food. Why? Well, olive nutrition includes phenolic compounds that have anti-tumor properties. For example, studies have shown that olives health benefits include the ability to help fight breast, colon and stomach cancer. (5)

5. Boost Heart Health

Olive nutrition includes antioxidants, healthy fats, and Vitamin E, all of which promote heart health. In fact, studies have shown that adding olives to your diet can help significantly reduce the risk of heart problems, including high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. (6)

6. Work as a Natural Probiotic

Olives health benefits include improved gut health. According to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, the phenolic compounds in olives have the ability to increase the healthy bacteria in the gut, acting as a natural probiotic. Not only that, olives are often fermented, like pickles, and therefore are rich in probiotics. (7)

7. Lower Risk of Diabetes and Obesity

Thanks to the healthy fats they contain, olives health benefits include the ability to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. The antioxidants in olives can also help prevent damage caused by oxidative stress. In addition, studies suggest that olives may help reverse diabetes by naturally lowering blood pressure and increasing good cholesterol levels. (8, 9) olives health benefits

8. Help Fight Infections

It's no wonder that olive oil has been used for centuries to treat wounds. That's because olives and olive leaf extract can help fight off microbial, viral and fungal infections. Furthermore, studies have shown that olives health benefits include the ability to fight off harmful infections, including MRSA. (10)

9. Prevent Osteoporosis

Another of olives health benefits is the ability to help prevent osteoporosis. You see, the polyphenols in olives work to reduce bone loss by aiding in the formation and maintenance of the bones. (11)

Olives vs. Olive Oil

Olives and olive oil both offer many health benefits, but they differ in nutrition. While olives contain about 25% fat, olive oil is almost 100% fat, of course. And olives are much higher in sodium because they are cured or pickled in salt. Both contain polyphenols that are beneficial for the body, but olives also offer fiber, Vitamin E, Vitamin E, copper, and calcium. But note that black olives do not contain very high levels of oleuropein, a compound that contributes to many of the above health benefits. (12)