Kalamata olives: fill up on antioxidants and protect your heart

Originating in one of the most authentic symbolic cities of Greece, these olives are considered a real cure-all for health

Kalamata olives are named after a Greek city located in the Peloponnese (it is a well-known marina and a place considered among the best reference points for those who want to discover the most authentic side of the country). Naming them means calling into question several benefits. These special olives, dark in color and with a shape reminiscent of that of the almond, can be used for the preparation of the oil. Despite this, they are mainly used at the table to garnish tasty dishes.

Among their properties it is possible to mention the richness in antioxidants. Analyzing the nutritional profile, it can be found above all the presence of oleuropein and hydroxytol, two polyphenols that represent valuable allies in the fight against free radicals and in the prevention of cancer.

When talking about Kalamata olives, it is also necessary to mention the benefits that affect cardiovascular health. For these very important properties it must be said thanks to the presence of oleic acid, monounsaturated carboxylic acid which has long been the focus of scientific attention.

Among the many research works that have been carried out over the years, we mention a study conducted in 2011 by a team from the INSERM Research Center in Bordeaux (France). The team examined data from a sample of 8,870 people, looking for an association between stroke incidence and plasma oleic acid levels. At a median follow-up of 5.2 years, the researchers had the opportunity to find the protective role of oleic acid as regards the risk of stroke – an adverse event that can have its primary location in the heart – in the elderly.

We could go on and on to list the benefits of Kalamata olives! In this category it is possible to recall the antimicrobial effects of oleuropein, but also the neuroprotective efficacy of this extraordinary polyphenol. Since due to the seasoning process to which they are subjected, they are particularly rich in sodium, it is recommended to moderate their intake if you tend to have water retention problems.

For safety, before starting to consume them it is useful to ask the doctor for advice. In the absence of contraindications, you can indulge yourself by adding them in mixed salads or using them to give more flavor to the homemade bread dough (just to mention some of the many alternatives).

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