Almighty Olives: These Small Fruits Pack Big Health Benefits

Reader Contribution by Staff
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<p>Looking for a simple (and delicious) way to keep your mind sharp? Offer your diet the olive branch! In addition to olives’ distinct flavors, these petite fruits offer impressive health perks.</p>
<p>The May/June 2009 issue of <a href=”http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200906/keen-cuisine-olives-olympian-edible” target=”_blank”>Psychology Today</a> reports that the antioxidant hydroxytyrosol, abundant in olives, slows cell death in the brain and can thus reduce the incidence of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. </p>
<p>More olive insight from <em>Psychology Today</em>:</p>
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<p>Olives’ skin is rich in maslinic acid, a natural compound that destroys colon cancer cells in humans.</p>
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<p>Choose extra virgin olive oil rather than virgin or “pure” varieties. Only extra virgin olive oil fully retains the olives’ healthful qualities. A rule of thumb: The greener the oil, the richer it is in polyphenols — antioxidants (including hydroxytyrosol) that research has shown to have a host of beneficial qualities, namely preventing degenerative diseases and cancer. (Read <a href=”https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/olive-oil-taste-test” target=”_self”>Tested, Tasted and Terrific Olive Oils</a> for our top olive oil picks.)</p>
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<p>Pastas, pizzas and plenty of other Mediterranean pleasures often come packed with olives, but there are numerous other, easier ways to get more olives on your plate. Here’s a variety of recipes from <a href=”http://www.epicurious.com/” target=”_blank”>Epicurious</a> that are packed with olive goodness:</p>
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<a href=”http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chunky-Tomato-and-Black-Olive-Salad-4035″ target=”_blank”>Chunky Tomato and Black Olive Salad</a>
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<a href=”http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Green-Olive-and-Coriander-Relish-12094″ target=”_blank”>Green Olive and Coriander Relish</a>
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<a href=”http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Green-Olive-Pesto-10559″ target=”_blank”>Green Olive Pesto</a>
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<a href=”http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Olive-Focaccia-Dough-14258″ target=”_blank”>Olive Focaccia Dough</a>
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<p>For more on keeping your brain in top form, read <a href=”https://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/brain-aging-research-health” target=”_self”>Aging and Brain Health: What Have You Been Learning Lately?</a>.</p>
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<em>Photo by kin lush/Flickr</em>
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<a title=”Megan Hirt” href=”https://www.motherearthnews.com/biographies/megan-hirt” target=”_self” class=”design_selected_field”>Megan Hirt</a>
<em>is an Associate Editor for</em> MOTHER EARTH NEWS. <em>Find her on</em>
<a title=”Google+” href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/110849541409486960266″ rel=”author” target=”_blank”>Google+</a>.</p>