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Olive is the fruit of an evergreen tree which originatesfrom the Mediterranean region and its botanical name is olea europea. Thekalamata species is dark, oval, very flavorful and salty. They are commonlyused as a dressing for pizzas and they can be blended with garlic and creamcheese. Kalamata olives have a very intense flavor and their outer fleshy partis the edible one. They have a single seed. The green ones are usually unripe and the darker color is commonlyassociated with olives that are fully ripe.

Olives can enhance a large varietyof dishes such as pastas, salads, meat dishes and pizza and they are commonlyconsumed with martini. Olives are among the rare fruits that are never consumedin 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 curingmethod and the degree of ripeness before picking. The green ones get pickedwhile unripe and the darker ones are usually left on the tree until they ripenfully. Olives can be purchased in cans or bottles or in a raw form. Kalamata isvery rich in anthocyanin which has very potent anti-inflammatory andantioxidant properties but it is usually not present in the cured olives thathave darker color. Most olives are very bitter in their raw form because theycontain a certain type of glycoside called oleuropein.

Health Benefits

Olives are very rich in monounsaturated fats which areexceptionally healthy for the heart. The only other fruit that is rich inmonounsaturated fats in its raw form is avocado. These fats, especially theoleic acid are very beneficial in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol andraising the levels of good cholesterol in the blood. Olives also containalpha-linolenic acid which is very important in promoting a healthy heart,reducing the risk of cancers, reducing hypertension, reducing the risk ofauto immune diseases, improving depression and preventing the formation of clotsin the circulatory system. This substance can also act as a blood thinner andcan be of great help in preventing gallstones.

Olives are a remarkable sourceof vitamin E and vitamin A which gives them very potent antioxidant propertieswhich fight the free radicals and reduce the damage they cause. Olives are veryefficient in reducing the risk of heart diseases and numerous inflammatoryconditions and relieving asthma and arthritis. Polyphenols and flavonoidsrelieve inflammations and reduce the hypertension risk. Olives are also rich incalcium, copper, iron and magnesium which is very beneficial for themineralization and strengthening of the bones and normal metabolic functioningin the human body. Olives are a good source of dietary fiber as well.

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