Olive health benefits and therapeutic value

Olive soap, oil and fruits on a white towel in front of a beautiful stone wall.

Olives are the fruits of olive trees (Olea europea), which are short twisted trees that are part of the Oleaceae family. They grow very slowly and can live to be over a thousand years old.

Olives are famous for their health benefits.

Health benefits of olive

  • Oil extracted from olives tops all other ways of benefiting from the unique nutritional value of olives.
  • Filled to the brim with vitamin E and polyphenols, olive oil is a natural antioxidant that helps our body fight free radicals that otherwise would damage our cells and speed up ageing.
  • Regularly ingesting olive oil supports fending off cardiovascular diseases since they increase “good” cholesterol while reducing “bad” cholesterol levels.
  • Drinking olive leaf infusions lowers arterial blood pressure and prevents related disorders: migraines, vertigo and tinnitus.
  • Olive leaf enhances diuresis, shrinks edemas and reduces blood urea levels. It is effective for persons who suffer from weak heart or kidneys.
  • Olive tree leaves also have interesting glycemic effects for persons who are hypertensive or have diabetes.
  • In case of liver deficiency, olive oil stimulates bile flow and activates digestive functions thanks to its emollient and laxative properties. Olive oil is recommended in cases of biliary colic (or gallbladder attacks) and to help evacuate gallbladder stones.
  • Since it is very soft and penetrates well, olive oil is used to prepare excipient bases for liniments, ointments and pharmaceutical products.
  • Used externally, olive oil mixed with egg whites brings immediate relief to burns and prompts wound-healing. It is also very effective to sooth sunburns.

Growing olive for its medicinal properties

  • Olive tree can grow virtually anywhere, but it won’t bear fruit in cooler regions because it is vulnerable to temperatures below 14°F (-10°C). It needs to be facing South a sheltered from strong winds.
  • It can thrive in the poorest of soils, but does best in deep, well drained soil that is rather chalky.
  • Olive trees only bear fruit reliably after ten to fifteen years. If you can, buy them older already!
  • If you wish to grow olive trees in pots, you should know that they have powerful root systems that need large garden boxes. You will need to re-pot your tree in containers that are slightly larger every year.

Use olives in your cooking to reap their health benefits

Green or black olives are actually identical fruits. The difference in color comes from when they were harvested: green olives are collected before they are fully mature, between September and October, whereas black olives are harvested ripe, in December.

Green olive has lower calorie levels than black one does.

Olive nutritional content

Olives for appetizersAround 150 kcal / 3.5 oz (100 g). Olive has high calcium, organic acid and vitamin levels.

Today, olive is widely present in our daily diet.

Choose extra virgin olive oil to ensure that manufacturing follows stringent audited procedures and answers to specific taste criteria.

While French olive oil is reputed to be powerful and fruity, Spanish olive oil is more acidic and fragrant while Italian olive oil is soft and elegant.

Olive oil prepared in Tunisia and Greece is continuously getting better.

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
Pixabay: Doris Jungo, Siala