In our written series of Yoga Yummies we will venture, with a light-hearted manner, to highlight the magic of chosen power foods, their consumption and origins – and, importantly, how they can invigorate us, bring energy and joy into our daily living while helping us to enliven our yoga routines.
Outstanding olives – the origins
The saying of extending the olive branch refers to the offering of peace and ending a dispute or a fallout, a metaphor first presented in the Old Testament’s Book of Genesis, where a white dove flies into the ark of Noah carrying an olive branch as a signification of the flood finally having come to an end.
The ancient Romans and Greeks would give olive branches as a sign of an army surrender or present it a wedding gift, symbolizing the slow growth of the olive tree, the challenge in obtaining it and the sacred qualities associated with it – a notion that places significant role to the olive tree as a holy symbol in the ancient civilizations, extending to the modern day. Olive oil as a divine symbol is still used as a part of many religious rituals and symbolizes health, purity and perseverance – the Greeks burned it in their early Olympic torches, considering it the symbol of eternity. The nourishing oil of the olive has for thousands of years been used as a massaging oil, for medical purposes, in rites and ceremonies, and, of course, as an inseparable part of the Mediterranean diet.
The olive tree, Olea europaea, is a tree that can be found across the warm climates in the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia. A geographically unique species of the tree is located in Southern Italy, where, as is the case with the entire nation of Italy and its autonomous regions, the olive tree, along with its oil and the precious fruits it provides, is considered an essential part of the culture. It is also an important part of culture, cuisine and trade through its cultivation amongst others in Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Syria and France, having largely spread to the warmer climates of the globe.
Outstanding olives – the vitamin essence
Olives have high quantities of monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants that help to reduce cholesterol, along with aiding the sensation of fullness and helping to maintain a lean diet of mindful portions – provided, of course, the consumption of olives themselves being at a moderated level.
Enjoying olive and its oil is believed to bring strength to the hearts of those who consume it. Olives contain vitamin E, while boasting a richness of minerals such as sodium and iron, making it a good addition to the diet for those who have a tendency for anemia. Try adding organic olive oil into your diet by consuming a spoonful every day!
Outstanding olives – choose & store
The color of the olive is dependent upon the stage of its harvest, the green olives picked in the stage prior to being ripe, in comparison to the ripened black olives. As a a raw fruit olive is quite bitter, made edible and undeniably delicious by a process of fermentation. Canned black olives can be artificially ripened through a chemical process.
The method of preparation and processing is in direct relation to the health benefits of the olive and its oil, and choosing cold-compressed, naturally fermented, organic and, if possible, locally produced olive products to ensure being able to enjoy all the heath benefits at their fullest. Buy your oil in a dark glass bottle, which is as much a measure of quality and a basis of usage practicality, as well as aiding product longevity.
Outstanding olives – eat & enjoy!
Olive oil can be applied both internally and externally – it will help sooth dry skin, and applying olive oil into dry spots for 15 minutes for example before bath will work miracles for the silky skin. It works as a natural exfoliate when mixed with rose salt. Along with honey, it is also said to be one of Cleopatra’s secrets!
The voluptuous taste of the olive will come through in a variety of cuisine: olives enjoyed just as such with fresh, crumbling local bakery bread, grapes and feat cheese will give a delicate sense of indulgence, they are delicious in salad paired with tomatoes and mozzarella. Try garlic-flavored olive oil as a bread dip, or add a delicate dash on top of fried fish or artichokes. The omnipotent olive, the nectar of yogic youth!