Loving the BITE: Olive Tapenade

19
Jan
2012

If you’re like me, you may love to eat drupes and not even know it.  There’s a new one, right?  Drupes are actually just “fruits” that have a pit or a stone at their core, surrounded by a fleshy, edible portion.  They include foods such as the mango, cherry, peach, plum, apricot, nectarine, and this week’s key ingredient, olives.

One hallmark of the Mediterranean diet is its use of olive oil and olives.  Another hallmark is its association with wellness and reduction in diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

For cyclists, a Mediterranean Diet high in foods such as olives can reduce the inflammation and oxidative stress that may plague our bodies and drag us down at a cellular level.  Really, does anyone needs more reason to eat more olives?

Recipe of the week:Olive Tapenade

Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted (or a combination of olive varieties)
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions: (prep: 5 minutes, cook: 12 minutes)

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until everything is finely chopped. Place the garlic cloves into a blender or food processor; pulse to mince. Add the olives, capers, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil Blend until everything is finely chopped. Season to taste fresh ground pepper.

Comments:

At a glance, the Mediterranean diet is high in monounsaturated fats (olives, nuts, avocados, etc), fish, and fresh whole foods with minimal processed foods, transfats, and saturated fats.  Olives, in particular, provide wonderful health benefits and flavor.  When you add olives to your diet, you:

  • Increase Cancer-prevention: One phytonutrient in olives, Hydroxytyrosol, is linked to cancer prevention.  It may also serve to reduce bone loss as we age since it increases the deposition of calcium in the bones.  This is likely one reason the Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduction in osteoporosis.
  • Reduce inflammation: Olives, olive oil, and olive leaves have traditionally been used to reduce inflammation from allergies and other inflammatory processes.  How?  Research points to specific olive extracts that act like anti-histamines in the cells…these extracts reduce the inflammatory histamine process that produces allergy symptoms in the cells and tissues.
  • Increase healthy fats in your diet: Approximately 80-85% of olive calories come from fat.  If this alarms you, don’t worry – olives’ fats are very good for you.  In fact, ~75% of the fat is from oleic acid, which is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease including reduced LDL, LDL:HDL ratio, and blood pressure.
  • Reduce oxidative stress: Olives have a HUGE phytonutrient content with many, many antioxidants.  And, it’s not just the level of antioxidants, but the variety.  They include vitamin E, selenium, zinc, oleuropein, and anthocyanidins to name a few.  What’s more, the nutrients in olives can increase our own production of a super-antioxidant, glutathione.  In combination, all of olives’ antioxidants work in our bodies to scavenge free radicals which damage our cells, oxidize “bad” cholesterol and allow it to enter the artery wall, and promote deterioration and aging.  As we push ourselves as athletes, we can actually increase some build-up of free radicals in our bodies.  But never fear, a diet rich in antioxidant foods, such as olives, will counter-act them and go beyond to improve our health.

Whether you prefer green, black, Kalamata or another variety, eat ‘em up because each is a good choice.  Different colors, ripening times, and regional variations indicate different, but not less or more, antioxidants and nutrients.  This week, while loving the bike, love yourself enough to proactively improve your health with whole foods like olives.  It’s one drupe that will fight for you!

Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body. 

Image c/o sheknows

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3 Responses to “ Loving the BITE: Olive Tapenade ”

  1. Kelli on January 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Hi Julie & Pamela – Thanks for your comments and I’m glad you like the recipe!  Additionally, it’s easy to include olives in your diet by just adding them to a salad.  Since I’m big on raw veggies at dinner (I recommend covering half a dinner plate with them), I usually liven salads up a bit with 1-2 healthy fat options. 5-8 olives work perfect for this and add a great puch of flavor!  Let me know what you think of the tapenade!  Take care!  Kelli, RD

  2. Pamela on January 19, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Once again I am reading and being educated on what food can do for me.  Olives never even seem to come to mind when I’m cooking.  I like them and will have to try this one and look for other olive recipes as well.

  3. Juliestarling on January 19, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Olives!!! Love em! Nice recipe. Thanks.

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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.

Answer:

Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

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