Olives are a fruit, too bitter to be eaten directly from the tree. However, they have a variety of health benefits making them worth including in your diet as often as possible.
The preparation of the olive has a lot to do with its health benefits. Look for cold pressed olive oils, as this can keep the majority of health benefits in tact.
Olive oil is considered a heart healthy oil because it is high in monounsaturated fats, those that are considered to help lower cholesterol.
Some olive preparations are thought to produce anti-inflammatory affects, to help calm joints and muscles. Olive leaves are particularly helpful in terms of allergy related inflammation.
Olives contain a phytochemical known as Hydroxytyrosol, which has been shown to help prevent certain forms of cancer. In addition to its cancer fighting benefits, some studies are now showing this phytochemical to be helpful in preventing bone loss with age.
Olives are high in iron, fiber, and copper. Just a single cup will give you nearly a quarter of your day's iron intake, and 17% of your daily intake of fiber and copper. You'll get all this in just 154 calories.