Full of fresh ingredients, healthy fats and vitamins, the Mediterranean diet is thought to be one of the healthiest diets going. While the Mediterranean diet varies from country to country, a number of core ingredients, such as olives, remain the same. Olives can add huge flavour to all sorts of meals – from paella to salads – and taste delicious with a beverage on your cheat days! And guess what? They’re bursting with health benefits! Here are six reasons why you should be eating them:
1. Part of your 5 a day
Olives are a fruit! Who knew? Just sixteen olives make up one of your five-a-day. They’re also a great source of dietary fibre, important for runners because it keeps you feeling fuller for longer and helps to control blood-sugar levels.
2. Protection from free radicals
Exercising in a polluted environment causes the body to produce inflammation-causing compounds as a result of oxidative stress in the body. Olives are full of Vitamin E – an anti-oxidant that protects cells from those dangerous free radicals, reducing oxidative stress.
3. Vitamin Rich
As running can lower the body’s immune defences (particularly in the 24 hours after an intense training session), it is important to include lots of vitamin-rich foods in your diet to strengthen your immune system. In addition to Vitamin E, olives are full of other essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids, including zinc, iron and oleic acid, which are great for your immune system, energy levels and skin.
4. Healthy Fats
Providing an essential source of energy and all-important fatty acids, fats and oils are a crucial part of a runner’s diet. Olives contain unsaturated healthy fats including omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to speed recovery in athletes by reducing inflammation and improving protein synthesis.
5. Helps Lower Cholesterol
Suffering from high cholesterol? A regular intake of olives – as part of a balanced diet – can help eliminate excess cholesterol in the blood and reduce the risk of heart disease.
6. Low Calorie
Containing roughly five calories each, olives are a fantastic low-calorie snack to enjoy at your desk when you’re feeling peckish.
For olives on the go, try Fragata’s handy Snack ‘n’ Olive packs, which contain no liquid or pits – perfect for popping in your bag before dashing out of the door. For more information on the Fragata range of olives, visit: www.fragata.co.uk.