Olives are among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world - being grown before the written language was invented, sometime between 6,000 and 7,000 years ago. They were being grown on Crete by 3,000 BC and may have been the source of the wealth of the Minoan kingdom.
Olive oil and olives are the basis of the Mediterranean diet which was listed by UNESCO as an Intangible World Cultural Heritage in November 2010!
Olives, like olive oil, contain phenolic compounds, which are natural antioxidants. It is these compounds that give olives their distinctive taste.
Phenolic compounds protect our body from damage from environmental toxins as well as free radicals, according to a 2002 issue of “Medicinal Research Reviews.”
Olives and olive oil also contain squalene, a compound that boosts immune function and helps reduce the risk of cancer, especially breast and stomach cancers.
In traditional herbal medicine practices, preparations from olives and olive leaves have often been used in treatment of inflammatory problems, including allergy-related inflammation.