Olives are one of the oldest foods known, and are thought to have originated in Crete between five and seven thousand years ago. Since ancient times, the olive tree has provided food, fuel, timber and medicine for many civilizations.
Olives are grown in many countries and we now have an olive industry in Australia, and it is booming with over eight million trees being planted in the last five years.
And because of consumer demand several exclusively organic olive groves have been established. One on the main products is olive oil.
When buying olive oil look for freshness, flavour and low acidity. The very best olive oil is extra virgin, which is unadulterated and fresh.
Don’t be fooled by the name light or extra light, which simply means it is light in colour. This is achieved by a chemical extraction process. Leave this product on the shelf.
Reverse Aging Qualities of Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in vitamins A, D, and K. It also contains antioxidants that perform a number of healthy functions in the body. They help fight free radicals which are associated with cancer and act as anti-inflammatory agents in health conditions such as arthritis.
The Journal of Agriculture & Food Chemistry Feb 7, 2007, mentions new studies that show the phenolic compounds in extra virgin olive oil had strong anti-bacterial effects against eight strains of helicoblactor pylori including antibiotic-resistant strains. H. pylori infections cause millions of cases of gastric and peptic ulcer disease each year. Doesn’t it make sense to put some extra virgin olive oil on your salad?
Great for your Health
Olives are also wonderful for your health. All olives however are not equal. Some, like the canned California-style black olives are not fermented but simply treated with lye to remove the bitterness, packed in salt and canned. Thankfully you can still find some healthy traditional varieties.
The stronger-flavoured, traditional Greek olives are still alive with active cultures. You ca n also ferment your own to be doubly sure of flavor and health benefits. Or just marinate them in olive oil, lemon zest, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Delicious.
Olive oil is great on your salad, but Dr Joe Mercola says that it is not the best oil for cooking, as it is not as stable as coconut oil, or butter, certainly my favourites. I attended a three day seminar with Dr Mercola in Seattle, and found him to be extremely knowledgeable, and ethical. He’s certainly worth listening to.
Olive Leaf Tea
Sometimes the leaves of the olive tree are picked to make a delicious and powerful herbal tea. The best is made from whole olive leaf that has been air dried at less than 36C, milled and packaged in hermetically sealed packets.
Olive leaf has been used in the Mediterranean for centuries, where they swear by its amazing immunity, vitality and health enhancing properties. So why not put the healthy antioxidant and free-radical scavenging effects of olive leaf into your diet.
A Final Word from the Annals of Internal Medicine.
“Virgin olive oil is the superior choice when it comes to vegetable oil. Not only is it high in healthy monounsaturated fat, but also it is the only vegetable oil that’s rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which may help prevent cancer and heart disease”.
We used olive oil as one tool in reversing my husband John’s premature aging.
We enjoy a wonderful crisp salad, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and healthy extra virgin olive oil. We set out a small plate of olives along with some vegetable crudités. You can also include some olive tapenade.
This is a delicious and easy-to-make spread that you can use as a dip or topping for fish and poultry. To make it, put pitted olives in a food processor with olive oil, garlic, and your favourite seasonings.
How easy is that?