It seems the olive tree predates us all. One of the earliest known references to it dates back more than 4000 years. Olives have been found in Egyptian tombs from 2,000 years BC. Here are some very good reasons why fresh black olives should be included in our healthy diets.
Olives are a good all natural source of dietary fibre. They're also rich in vitamin E a noted antioxidant. Olives seem to protect against breast cancer because they contain substances called poly phenols that are believed to help us to ward off cancer. Poly phenols give the olive its taste and aroma. They are good for digestion and even have anti-ageing properties.
Olives contain mono-unsaturated fatty acids which act as heart protectors, they have a good amount of vitamins A, E, D and K, and provide relief for rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Olives are rich in good fats, especially oleic acid, an omega-9 mono unsaturated fatty acid. They are also excellent sources of minerals (potassium, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, iron), vitamins and beta-carotene, flavanoids, and fibre.
People who regularly consume Olives were found to have a lower rate of cancer, especially breast cancer. Studies show that women who eat Olives more than once a day have a 45 percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer. Women living in countries bordering the Mediterranean, particularly Greece, Spain and Italy, are only about half as likely to die of breast cancer as women in Northern Europe and the United States.
Those who include fresh olives daily in their diets tend to have a decreased incidence of coronary heart disease and certain cancers. The mono unsaturated fatty acid content of olives can help to lower LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) levels and it also prevents the build up of dangerous arterial plaque on artery walls.
Black olives contain iron and have very few calories. Olives are thought to have laxative qualities and to stimulate the appetite and aid the liver.
Ripe, black olives are the healthiest, particularly those cured in water or with sea salt. Green, unripe olives do not have the same level of mineral content and also might be treated with lye. Ripe black olives contain high amounts of heart-healthy, oleic acid which is also thought to have rejuvenating qualities.