Top 7 Benefits of Olive Fruit
Writer: Wan SofaSyifa
Reviewed by: Fenny Lim, BSc. (Hons) Nutrition, UKM
What is Olive Fruit?
Olive fruit or olives are fruits grown on olive trees. The fruit belongs to a group called drupes or stone fruits. Other examples of stone fruits are mangoes, cherries, and peaches. Traditionally, olive trees are native to the Mediterranean region and are abundant in the area as a widely used product. Now, olives can be found in most regions of the world – mainly due to the many benefits of olive fruit itself.
Since it is the main source of fat in the Mediterranean diet – a diet consisting of mainly fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and very little processed food proven to give those practicing it higher life expectancy, extensive research has been conducted to understand the health benefit of olives.
Below are seven highly regarded benefits of olives based on extensive research.
The 7 Benefits of Olive Fruit
1. Improves Heart Health
Olives are rich in healthy fats and antioxidants. This makes them especially effective in improving cardiovascular health. Observational studies on individuals subscribing to the Mediterranean diet show that they are less prone to heart diseases .
Breaking down what their diet consists of – including the heavy use of olives shows that olives help improve cardiovascular health by;
- Reducing inflammation
- Protects low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol from oxidation
- Prevents excessive lining of the blood vessels
- Prevents blood clotting
2. Improves Liver Health
Olive oil, high in MUFAs and antioxidants, may improve your liver health and reduce the risk of liver diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). An early study in 2009 shows that MUFAs in olives may help improve your liver health and reduce the risk of liver diseases. After prolonged use, adding olives as a fat substitute may give you this result .
3. Improves Bone Health
A less-known benefit of olives is an improvement in bone health. What is bone health? Bone health is an effort to promote or enhance your bones to increase their strength and prevent excessive fractures . One study has explored how phenolic extracts from extra-virgin olive oil – a byproduct of olive fruits and concludes that it may help improve bone health due to its effects on osteoblast-like cells .
4. Reduces Metabolic Syndromes
Metabolic syndrome refers to conditions that form a group of risk factors that can cause chronic conditions. These risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar levels . The nutrients in olives have been shown to help reduce metabolic syndromes through a similar method to how it improves cardiovascular health.
It has also been shown to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol levels, further reducing all other risk factors of metabolic syndromes.
5. Reduces Risk of Cancer
In a study conducted in 2019, olives were found to have certain properties that indicate they may help reduce the risk of cancer – specifically colorectal cancer (cancer in the intestinal tract where the colon or rectum grows out of control) . The study indicates that the high monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) and antioxidants, particularly phenolic compounds in olive fruits, likely help reduce cancer risk.
6. Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Olives have been found to be able to reduce the risk of contracting cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. This is linked to the presence of oleocanthal in the fruit itself. Oleocanthal may also be able to help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s as it has the ability to increase the effectiveness of the drug, donepezil – a common medicine used to treat dementia .
7. Reduces the Risk of Diabetes
Another study has shown that olives may be able to help reduce the risk of diabetes because they are rich in oleic acid. The study concludes that oleic acid may help lower insulin resistance by targeting palmitate – a type of fat found in palm oil and butter . Lowering insulin resistance is particularly helpful in reducing the risk of diabetes because high insulin resistance is commonly associated with high blood sugar levels – one of the earliest signs of diabetes .
NAFLD and metabolic syndrome are also known causes of diabetes, which, as we discovered earlier, can be prevented with several nutrients in olives.
Should You Invest in Olive Fruit-based Supplements?
Olives can be taken in many different ways. You can take it as is, include it in your dishes, or even substitute your daily cooking oil with olive oil. You can also take olive supplements – one of the most common ingredients used in dietary supplements. The question is, should you invest in olive-based supplements? The short answer is no. This is because a single olive-based supplement is not a cure-all or particularly beneficial for overall health.
You should consider a dietary supplement with olives as part of its formulation. Dietary supplements support your daily nutritional needs, not as a cure-all or substitute for medicines. An example of our own formulation that includes olives is our CellLabs® POSH D-Centa which features olives alongside eleven other ingredients to complement each other.
It’s important to be cautious when selecting a multi-ingredient dietary supplement. Take the time to carefully read the label or seek guidance from a professional if you’re unsure. Your health and well-being should be a priority.
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