Olives – fruit or vegetable

Olives have been familiar to our table since immemorial time. The fact that the variety of varieties available on the market is proven, as well as the fact that they are among the favorite foods of many, does not mean that we know the origin of olives, their qualities, advantages and disadvantages, health benefits and harms, and that we know the olive is a fruit or a vegetable. Let’s start from there – what is an olive – a fruit or a vegetable? The answer will surprise you.

Accustomed to the fruit being sweet and full of sugar, few would answer this question correctly and identify the olive as the fruit it really is. The salty taste that olives are known for is obtained after extensive processing, and in the raw state the fruit is unfit for consumption due to its unpleasant strong bitterness. Although not sweet, olives are a fruit.

Why is the olive defined as a fruit?

The olive is born on the olive tree. In botany, fruits are the seed-bearing structures of plants, such as the olive tree. The stone in the core of the olive, from which we can grow a tree, classifies olives as fruits. And although it seems strange to us that a salty-bitter food can qualify as a fruit, olives are exactly that – fruits, and they need solid processing to become food fit for our table, tasty and appetizing. Olives of various varieties are a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and a significant export crop for Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Morocco. Olive oil produced from olives is also among the most exported and purchased products.

Benefits and harms of consuming olives Regardless of whether you know olives are a fruit or a vegetable, we are sure that you are excited about the benefits of consuming them, as well as whether they can harm your health.

Benefits of consuming olives

1. They are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, which help us to obtain the daily dose of vitamins valuable for our health, as well as in the body’s fight against free radicals. The generous amount of vitamin E hidden in olives preserves the health and beauty of the skin, as well as stimulates the immune system, making olives an ally in the fight against aging and a great means of preventing a number of diseases related to the weakening of the immune system.

2. Studies point to olives as a valuable aid in maintaining bone health and fighting osteoporosis. Specialists recommend that people suffering from osteoporosis, at risk of developing it, adults in whom osteoporosis is common, as well as menopausal women, should consume more often and larger amounts of olives or olive oil, which they can use both for seasoning salads instead of traditional sources of fat, as well as for meals.

3. The beneficial effect of olives and olive oil on vessels and the heart has been proven, that maintaining is, olives are useful for cardiovascular health. Increased consumption of olives or olive oil may reduce the risk of heart disease and mortality from it.

4. Bold studies point to olives as a means of prevention and support for the treatment of oncological diseases – the scourge of humanity. According to scientists, this action of olives is due to the compound oleocanthal they contain, which according to studies can kill cancer cells. Among the types of cancer that have been reported to be successfully affected by the intake of oleocanthal through olives is that of the breast – one of the most common in women.

5. The same valuable substance – oleocanthal – is also known for its ability to serve as a prevention against the development of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases. 6. Olives help the body regulate glucose and are thus a means of preventing diabetes and type 2 diabetes in particular.

Risks of consuming olives

Regardless of whether olives are fruits or vegetables, like any food, they not only provide benefits to the body, but also hide their risks. The benefits far outweigh the risks when it comes to consuming olives and olive oil, but we should still keep in mind the following – processed and preserved olives are stored in brine that is too salty. Excessive use of salt leads to problems with the health of the heart and blood vessels, as well as that of the kidneys. If you are following a salt-free diet, or if your goal is to reduce the amount of sodium you consume, choose fresh olives rather than canned ones, which will save you harmful amounts of white poison.

Another thing you should keep in mind when consuming olives is that they mainly contain fat, and in considerable amounts. If your diet requires more limited amounts of fat, don’t overdo it with olives on your table. Everyone else can boldly put olives in their palms and treat themselves to the opportunity to answer the question whether olives are a fruit or a vegetable, whether they guessed it or not.

Note: The article is for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation or a substitute for professional consultation.

Photo by Melina Kiefer on Unsplash

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