A staple Greek –and not just Greek- fruit (yes, a fruit!) olives always have a place at the table in both their liquid, processed, and original form.
Other than a great and very tasty snack before or during meals, olives are so rich in vitamins and minerals that their consumption may help lower high blood pressure and have a beneficial effect on certain types of cancer.
Olives, and especially the Kalamata ones, are high in vitamin E, vitamin A, iron and antioxidants. Their antioxidant properties come from the phenolic compounds they contain that protect from damage caused by environmental toxins as well as free radicals, according to the Medicinal Research Reviews.
A recent study conducted by a team of Greek researchers and scientists from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, in collaboration with the 401 General Military Hospital of Athens has found that the Peloponnese variety is the healthiest for consumption.
The scientists tested 20 healthy people aged from 22 to 65 years of age and placed them on a special diet focused on Kalamata olives for 60 days.
According to researchers Drs Martha Spyridoula Katsarou and Eleni Melliou none of the participants received any medication during said period yet by the end of the second month the volunteers showed showed significant increase in HDL (good cholesterol) to the ratio of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
The team will be conducting a second study, with 100 participants this time with an aim to assess the benefits Kalamata olives can have on as cholesterol and triglycerides. The subjects will have hypercholesterolemia and a group will be receiving medication.
“We are continuing the study and have seen excellent results so far, as there has been significant statistical reduction in cholesterol and improved blood lipid markers in these volunteers,” said Dr Melliou.
“The results are of major importance, as heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. There is a great need in the scientific community to find ways which we can protect and help in such cases,” added Dr Katsarou.