Olive is the fruit of an evergreen tree which originates from the Mediterranean region and its botanical name is olea europea. The kalamata species is dark, oval, very flavorful and salty. They are commonly used as a dressing for pizzas and they can be blended with garlic and cream cheese. Kalamata olives have a very intense flavor and their outer fleshy part is the edible one. They have a single seed. The green ones are usually unripe and the darker color is commonly associated with olives that are fully ripe.
Olives can enhance a large variety of dishes such as pastas, salads, meat dishes and pizza and they are commonly consumed with martini. Olives are among the rare fruits that are never consumed in the raw form and they need to be cured so that the bitterness gets removed. The qualities such as flavor, texture and color largely depend on the curing method and the degree of ripeness before picking. The green ones get picked while unripe and the darker ones are usually left on the tree until they ripen fully. Olives can be purchased in cans or bottles or in a raw form. Kalamata is very rich in anthocyanin which has very potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties but it is usually not present in the cured olives that have darker color. Most olives are very bitter in their raw form because they contain a certain type of glycoside called oleuropein.
Olives are very rich in monounsaturated fats which are exceptionally healthy for the heart. The only other fruit that is rich in monounsaturated fats in its raw form is avocado. These fats, especially the oleic acid are very beneficial in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol and raising the levels of good cholesterol in the blood. Olives also contain alpha-linolenic acid which is very important in promoting a healthy heart, reducing the risk of cancers, reducing hypertension, reducing the risk of auto immune diseases, improving depression and preventing the formation of clots in the circulatory system. This substance can also act as a blood thinner and can be of great help in preventing gallstones.
Olives are a remarkable source of vitamin E and vitamin A which gives them very potent antioxidant properties which fight the free radicals and reduce the damage they cause. Olives are very efficient in reducing the risk of heart diseases and numerous inflammatory conditions and relieving asthma and arthritis. Polyphenols and flavonoids relieve inflammations and reduce the hypertension risk. Olives are also rich in calcium, copper, iron and magnesium which is very beneficial for the mineralization and strengthening of the bones and normal metabolic functioning in the human body. Olives are a good source of dietary fiber as well.