EAT WELL: Olives

Did you know that the monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and polyphenols found in olives help provide anti-inflammatory protection and reduce the severity of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and osteoarthritis?

Olive oil’s monounsaturated fats have also been found to lower blood pressure and help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, while its antioxidants and polyphenols help balance cholesterol levels, boost the immune system and protect against some cancers. Vitamin E is the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant that helps protect cells from the ravages of free radical activity. The one caution with eating olives is that they are usually high in salt content. If salt is problematic for you, rinse them off under cold running water to remove some of the salt before enjoying them.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas:

Olive tapenade is a delicious and easy-to-make spread that you can use as a dip, sandwich spread, or topping for fish and poultry. To make it, put pitted olives in a food processor with olive oil, garlic, and your favorite seasonings.

Toss pasta with chopped olives, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs of your choice.

Marinate olives in olive oil, lemon zest, coriander seeds and cumin seeds.

Add chopped olives to your favorite tuna or chicken salad recipe.

Set out a small plate of olives on the dinner table along with some vegetable crudités for your family to enjoy with the meal.

Olive Tapenade
Olive tapenade is delicious, easy to make and can be used as a dip, sandwich spread or topping for fish and poultry. Make a batch to keep in the refrigerator for enhancing your meals throughout the week.

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 8 oz kalamata olives, pitted and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBS capers, rinsed and drained
2 TBS minced fresh Italian parsley
1 minced anchovy filled (optional)
2 tsp minced lemon peel
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine olives, garlic, capers, parsley, anchovy, lemon peel, and black pepper.
Add exra virgin olive oil and mix thorougly.
Makes 1/2 cup

Healthy Cooking Tips:

The olives, capers, garlic and parsley may be minced at the same time in a food processor.

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