Health Benefits of Spanish Olives

When you’re lingering over tapas, or enjoying a handful of olives with your bread and cheese for lunch, there is one thing that you can be sure of: those delicious Spanish olives, so packed full of flavour, are actually very good for you.

Olives have been valued for their medicinal properties since ancient times, and modern science has confirmed what the Roman, Greek and Arab doctors already knew two thousand years ago.

Olives are a concentrated source of monounsaturated fats: these are the healthy fats that have a positive effect on your body and protect you from the effect of bad cholesterol. They actually lower the blood cholesterol level, so protecting against heart disease.

Olives are also packed with polyphenols and flavonoids which are thought to ward off cancer and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the whole body.

They are rich in Vitamin E, an important antioxidant that combats free radicals in the body and keeps the cells healthy.

It is the combination of these important nutrients that makes olives so good for your health. Their combined protective and anti-inflammatory effects help prevent heart disease and colon cancer and may also reduce the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Besides these health benefits, Vitamin E has been shown to help reduce hot flushes during menopause.

Olives are full of fibre (2.6 grams per 100g) and are a good source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and iodine.

You can get all these health benefits from just seven olives (about 25g) a day. This amount of olives comes to just 37 kcal, compared to the 140 kcal of the equivalent weight in crisps.

So next time you crave a salty snack, instead of reaching for a packet of crisps, go for a jar of traditionally cured Spanish olives, indulge your tastebuds, and feel good about your health as you do so.