OLIVES AND THEIR USE
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© November 2014, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Olives are an ancient fruit. Most olives are grown in the area of the Mediterranean Sea, although they also grow throughout Africa, parts of Asia and in California. They grow on large trees that can live for more than 1000 years, producing olives the entire time. There are thousands of varieties of olives, and the olive has been a staple food in the Middle East and Africa for thousands of years.
THE USE OF OLIVES IN A NUTRITIONAL BALANCING PROGRAM
A few olives each week are okay during a nutritional balancing program. However, the only variety that is recommended is the botija olive. Botija olives are an older variety of olive that is much less refined and hybridized. This means they are much drier, and contain less oil. Since oil is a yin substance, these olives are much more yang than most others, and this is one reason they are recommended while the others are not nearly as good.
Botija olives are from Peru and they are sold fresh or dried. They are not sold much at health food stores, but they are available via the internet.
Selenium. Another reason this olive is suggested is its high content of a very bioavailable selenium.
It is difficult to find such an excellent form of selenium today. The oil is also quite good, as are other nutrients it contains. The best ones, and most yang ones, are dried, either with or without the pits.
If you buy the ones with pits, you can crack open the pits with a nut cracker and eat the seeds as well (see below). Just eat 3 or 4 seeds weekly, as more are not needed and may be slightly toxic for some people.
Unfortunately, other olives besides the botija olives, which are most of them, should be avoided. The reasons are 1) most are processed with regular salt and possibly harmful chemicals, and 2) the fermented ones, which is most of them, are too yin to be eaten on a regular basis.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OLIVES
A yang fruit. Most fruit is extremely yin, and best avoided for this reason. The olive, however, is an extremely yang fruit. This is one reason the botija olives can be recommended on a nutritional balancing program, when eaten in moderation.
Olive oil. Olives are best known for their oil. It is a partially saturated oil that turns solid if placed in the refrigerator, but remains liquid at room temperature. Ideally, olive oil should be refrigerated, although it keeps for a while at room temperature, one of its very unusual properties. The fresh oil is best, however, and should be used promptly once the bottle is opened.
Olive oil is graded in various ways. Virgin olive oil means that the oil comes from the first pressing. Usually, olives are pressed several times to extract all the oil. The virgin or first pressing is the most yin, while the later pressings produce a more yang oil that is actually better in some ways, although its taste may be different. The virgin oil is the most costly, so one is often better off with the less expensive olive oil.
In the past, just the soft fruit was pressed for oil. Today, the entire olive, with its husk and seed, may be crushed to produce more oil. This is okay, as far as I know.
Olive seeds. The olive seed is very rich in minerals such as selenium, zinc and others. It can be eaten easily by simply cracking the seed husk with a nut cracker and then eating only the seed.
The olive pit husk is very hard and should not be eaten, however, as it is indigestible and might injure the intestinal wall if sharp edges are present. Also, do not chew the husk, as it is so hard it could break a tooth. Swallowing the husk is also a bad idea, as it has sharp ends that could be dangerous. It is also quite indigestible and will come out just as it went in.
The olive is quite an unusual and nourishing food that has been used by human beings for millennia. The botija olive is a less hybridized and older variety that makes an excellent addition to a nutritional balancing program, both as a nourishing food and somewhat as a food supplement as well.