Are you ready for a delicious, low-calorie, heart-healthy snack? Whatever your diet, for health or personal reasons, olives should be one of your favourite foods, even as part of a gluten-free or vegan diet.
Luckily, we’re becoming increasingly aware of the importance of what we eat, because a healthy, sustainable, balanced diet helps us improve our quality of life and prevent diseases.
Olives in the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is a great example, recognized as the healthiest diet in the world and named an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ by Unesco in 2010. The diet is based on local, seasonal ingredients from the countries of the Mediterranean basin.
As part of this diet, the Mediterranean diet food pyramid recommends taking:
• With each main meal: 2 servings of vegetables, greens and fruit.
• Daily: 1-2 servings of bread, pasta, rice or whole grains; 1-2 servings of nuts, seeds or olives, and 2 preferably low-fat dairy derivatives.
• Weekly: 2 servings of legumes, 2 servings of white meat, 2 of fish or shellfish, 2-4 eggs, 3 servings of potatoes and less than 2 servings of red meat.
Olive oil is the main source of healthy fat, and don’t forget to drink enough water and do daily exercise.
Olives on the ‘Harvard Healthy Eating Plate’
Although everyone’s more used to seeing a food pyramid with the main foods at the bottom, the ‘Harvard Healthy Eating Plate’ is a great guide to designing healthy and balanced menus.
Created by the Harvard School of Public Health, it represents in a circle the proportions of the different food groups we should consume:
• Half the plate should be made up of fruit and veg.
• The other half should be divided into quarters: one for whole grains and one for healthy proteins (including legumes).
The ‘plate’ should also include a healthy fat source, such as extra virgin olive oil or olives.
Olives in gluten-free and vegan diets
Olives are also ideal to consume in moderation for people with coeliac disease or those who opt for a vegan diet.
Gluten is a protein present in natural foods, such as wheat or rye, which can damage our intestines through an allergic reaction. However, although olives are obviously a type of fruit/veg, they are totally gluten-free.
In the Spanish Federation of Celiac Associations (FACE)’s food classification, both whole and pitted olives packed without seasoning (without spices or condiments) are recognized as “naturally gluten-free”.
As regards veganism, the Lantern consultancy’s ‘The Green Revolution’ report states that 7.8% of the Spanish population over 18 regularly follows a ‘veggie’ lifestyle, and that this is becoming increasingly widespread and normal.
In a vegan diet, olives add flavour, colour and versatility to numerous dishes. They are also a very convenient, delicious way to obtain the nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy, such as fibre, vitamins, minerals and oleic acid.
So, it’s clear as daylight: whatever diet you follow, get some olives on your pantry shelves! Open a can of green or black olives, to accompany any dish, or enjoy them anytime, anywhere, thanks to the new products from Aceitunas Torrent: The Coolives, the perfect snack to take with you everywhere, and Oliva Clan, the ‘baby’ of the family, specially designed for kids.