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Greek-style black olives, Spanish-style green olives, Kalamata-style olives, and many different methods of olive preparation provide us with valuable amounts of many different antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

While there are trade-offs that occur during olive ripening and olive curing—for example, decreased oleuropein with advanced stages of ripening yet increased amounts of anthocyanins—it's impossible to rule out any single type of olive as being unworthy of consideration as a uniquely health-supportive food, particularly in terms of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

While commonly recognized as a high-fat food (about 80-85% of the calories in olives come from fat), olives are not always appreciated for the type of fat they contain.

Olives are unusual in their fat quality, because they provide almost three-quarters of their fat as oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid.

Few high-fat foods offer such a diverse range of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients—some of which are unique to olives themselves.

Olives are too bitter to be eaten right off the tree and must be cured to reduce their intrinsic bitterness.

Processing methods vary with the olive variety, region where they are cultivated, and the desired taste, texture and color.

All of these changes lower our risk of heart disease.

Recent research studies have also shown that the monounsaturated fat found in olives (and olive oil) can help to decrease blood pressure.

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