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Study Finds Greek Kalamata Olives Help Reduce Bad Cholesterol

kalamata olives
Kalamata olives. Credit: Michael Fielitz/Wikimedia Commons/cc by-sa 2.0

A study conducted by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens found that  Kalamata olives help reduce bad cholesterol and improve the overall health of people who include them in their diets.

Olives are well known for their benefits when eaten in reasonable quantities. However, this new study focusing on the famous Kalamata olives proves once again what an important element olives are in a balanced diet based on Mediterranean cuisines.

Kalamata olives extremely nutritious, reduce bad cholesterol

The University of Athens study was conducted in collaboration with the 401 Military Hospital of Athens, and included sixty participants.

The participants were all healthy and they were between 22 and 65 years old.

One of the most significant findings of the study was that after the participants included Kalamata olives in their healthy diets, the levels of their bad cholesterol (LDL) were reduced, while the levels of good cholesterol, or HDL, increased significantly.

The researchers who conducted the study now want to move on, including more people, whose health is not perfect, to see the impact Kalamata olives might have on their overall health and cholesterol levels.

According to the researchers, the daily consumption of several Kalamata olives helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, while improving the person’s lipid profile.

Greek olive oil also has many health benefits

Greek olive oil, or “Liquid Gold,” as Homer called it, has been part of Greece’s history since antiquity. It is an irreplaceable nutritional component of the Greek diet.

The history of humanity’s use of the olive dates back to ancient history. In his work “Origin des plantes cultivees,” botanist Augustin Pyrame de Candole writes that our cultivation of the olive tree has been dated back to 4000 BC — and that its origin is from the coasts of Asia Minor.

Based on excavation discoveries in Knossos in 1951, archaeologist Panagiotis Anagnostopoulos claimed that the origin of the olive actually lies on the island of Crete. This theory is supported by the fact that the name given to the olive tree is Greek and was thus preserved in all languages.

Ancient Greeks also used olive oil as part of their efforts to enjoy a healthy life and to promote longevity, and used it as a cosmetic for the skin and hair. Today, Greek olive oil is considered by most as the best in the world.

Olive oil is also renowned for its health benefits, and it has even been shown that the substance can contribute to a longer, healthier life. Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in carotenoids and polyphenols, offering antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Today, throughout the world, there are approximately 800 million olive trees — of which approximately 95% are cultivated in the Mediterranean basin, which has the best soil and climatic conditions for olive cultivation.

The olive is widely grown all over in Greece. Its cultivation, which is greater than any other type of fructiferous tree, occupies approximately 15 percent of cultivated agricultural land and 75 percent of arboraceous cultivations in the country.

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