Hey, Friends! What’s shakin’? Everyone doing well? It has been a wonderful, albeit sultry, summer here in Baltimore. My days have been fast paced and at times a bit chaotic, but replete with enjoyment, nonetheless! Between teaching heaps of barre classes and doing oodles of health coaching, I am rarely in one place for more than a few hours. We’ve previously discussed this, but in case you missed it– my affectionate nickname to my husband and friends is “SNACKS”. Even if you perhaps glazed over this tidbit in a previous post, the content frequently posted here would leave you, well, less than shocked. Today’s snack-tastic feature is one that often accompanies me on my daily adventures. Let’s talk OLIVES. Olive you. Olive me. Olive snacks.
I’m just killing it with these humdinger puns today… is this mic on? I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waiter on the way out ; )
Y’all, olives are the real deal and here’s my case for why you should consider incorporating them into your lunch bag. Categorically a fruit from the Olea Eurpea tree, olives are often mistaken as a veggie. Fruit… veggie…whatevs. What does matter is that this bulbous matter of pungent yumminess is LOADED with nutritious antioxidants, vitamins, and fat. Remember, FAT is PHAT! Can someone please make that a bumper sticker?
Anyways, these lil’ buggers are right up there with the all hailed avocado in regards to best sources for plant based fat. Oleic acid, an Omega 9, is the primary fat in an olive. This type of fatty acid has been shown to reduce inflammation and fight free radicals in your body. This offers some protection from possible cancers. Also of interest- a study published in a 2000 edition of the medical journal ‘QJM’, established that oleic acid had a positive impact on fasting glucose and insulin receptor sensitivity. As a result, this implies that those suffering with Diabetes would benefit from a diet high in Oleic acid. In fact, we all would!
Also, olives are low carb. And the majority of the 4-6% of carbohydrates found in olives is mostly comprised of fiber! Y’all know how I feel about sugar and carbs. Get psyched, my Keto and Paleo friends!
Given that Oleic acid tends to corrode easily at higher temperatures, cooking with olive oil is not recommended. Sorry, I know that is going to break the hearts of many. There is good news, however. Extra virgin olive oil tends to be cold pressed and this means the heavy dose of phenolic compound composition is preserved. So, save those tears– olive oil is still the perfect accoutrement for your salads and other room temperature fare!
Wait, back up– what’s a phenol? Rest easy, Chem drop-outs (raises hand). Phenolic compounds are, very simply put, an aromatic and organic chemical amalgamation, often found in essential oils… and why olive oil smells so yummy.
Hydroxytyrosol, a robust phenol phytochemical compound, is unique to olives and the olive leaf. Of the Oleic acid and Hydroxtyrosol duo, Hydroxytyrosol is the more dominant and powerful. This phytonutrient functions as extraordinary anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant agent. Additionally, it has been linked to prevention of bone loss! There is a higher composition of Hydroxytyrosol found in black olives versus their green counterpart, although some of this is lost through the brining process as the waste water is discarded. Drink that olive juice!
Brining typically involves the submersion of the olives in an alkali or salt solution over the course of several weeks. This doesn’t mean though that the green guys get the short end of the stick. Less sodium is acquired through the brining process with green olives, so peeps with high blood pressure- stick to the greenies. In case you are wondering, color differentiation is based upon how ripe the olive was at the time of being harvested. All olives are “born” with their signature green color.
Now on to the fun stuff… how to increase olive consumption in your daily diet. Sure, you can eat them as a snack to-go, as I often do, but there’s a myriad of ways to eat these guys. Currently, I’m a big fan of making simple olive tapenade, sprinkling them over zucchini zoodles, or even stuffing them with goat’s cheese.
Get creative- that’s what makes life fun anyways, right?
So, there ya have it, folks. I rest my case. Eat your olives.
Olive you xoxo,