It’s finally occurred to me! James Bond, a.k.a. Agent 007, is impossible to kill because he loves martinis! Not because he likes them “shaken, not stirred” – I think he’s just being fussy – but because every martini comes with an olive. And olives are fantastic for preserving health and promoting continual living. Martinis are really just Mr. Bond’s excuse to have his daily dose of olives and look cool at the same time: cover blown, double-o-seven!
Most of us have heard of the health benefits of eating and cooking with olive oil. Olive oil has been given bad press before, but I suspect it was an economic agenda trying to push consumers to use other oils, and not that the anti-health claims made against it were true. That exercise generally failed worldwide. And today we all know (again) that consuming olive oil is very good for health.
And if olive oil can be pressed from olives – which are fruit by the way, and not a vegetable – then it’s certainly true that olives are a high-fat food source. In fact, almost 85 per cent of the calories in olives come from fat. But it’s extremely good fat, like oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid), linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid). These decrease blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In addition, olives contain the phytonutrients hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein (trivia: oleuropein is found only in olives), which are not only linked to preventing cancer, but also to preventing the loss of bone mass. Olives feature heavily in the Mediterranean Diet which emphasises eating plant-based foods (eg. fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olives, etc), using herbs and spices to flavour food instead of salt, and replacing butter with healthy fats (eg. olive oil). Studies have found that the followers of this diet have largely reduced osteoporosis risk, and have linked this to the phytonutrients found in olives.
It’s well-known that olives have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammation properties, including anti-allergy benefits. Research has found that olive extracts work like anti-histamines, and olives have become increasingly accepted in anti-allergenic diets. If there were any conerns of our favourite spy-man overdoing his martinis, it’ll be a relief to know that while the antioxidant/anti-cancer properties in olives work very well in general cancer prevention, they are particularly adapt at combating stomach (gastric) cancer, so martini-away, 007! (The other type of cancer that olives are great at combating is breast cancer, by the way).
The documented overall health benefits of olives are nothing short of astounding. They protect and boost our cardiovascular system, respiratory system, nervous system, musculoskeletal system, immune system, inflammatory system and digestive system. Did I leave any system out? It appears that olives can turbo-charge our bodies, and that in turn will enable us to perform better at the things we do, both at work and at play.
The good news for us non-spy types is that olives can eaten in so many non-alcoholic ways. One of my favourites is an olive-topped-cheese-laden pizza. Other dishes that olives are commonly added to are salads, pastas, cous cous dishes, cold cuts, cooked or raw seafood, in olive bread, olive rice and so on, or simply eaten whole. The fruit’s versatility matches its wide-ranging health benefits. Another thing I can happily do is eat pieces of freshly baked baguette or bread dipped in an olive oil and balsamic vinegar mix. I’ll finish the whole loaf on my own, as long as the olive oil doesn’t run dry. And better still, indulge in that while watching a James Bond movie – perfect!
Well, what works for James Bond should work for us too, right? As a recap, let’s sum up the benefits of olives and the practical applications for the famous 007:
- Decreased blood pressure = can stay calm in stressful life-and-death situations = can quickly formulate a winning plan and execute it with laser-focus and precision.
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease = gives 007 a strong and healthy heart = he has a lot of stamina and endurance to run/chase/fight/kill the bad guys and do all sorts of hero-stuff.
- Reduced osteoporosis risk = 007 has strong, hard bones = near impossible to seriously hurt him even with a direct hit = in fact, he can punch/kick enemies back super hard and mortally wound them with his bare hands.
- Huge antioxidant and anti-allergy benefits = 007 is fully healthy and fit all the time = he never suffers an off-form day = enemies can never catch him in bed with a cold and his guard down = instead, he’ll almost always successfully sneak up on enemies and whack them.
- All his body’s systems are working at 100 per cent = James Bond is more like an X-Man superhero than a mortal spy agent = the bad guys really stand no chance.
- And equally important, drinking martinis all the time (code word: olives) makes 007 look super cool = his coolness intimidates enemies = the fight’s won before it’s begun.
Does Sofresh supply olives to our clients? Yes, we certainly do! Have the “James Bonds” out there consumed the olives we’ve supplied? Although I can’t say for sure, given the many cruise lines and their ships that call at Singapore which we supply, I’d say the chances of that are high.
The next time you find yourself onboard a cruise and you spot a charming fellow in an immaculate tuxedo at the bar ordering a martini shaken-not-stirred, order yourself one too. Then softly say, “Fancy meeting you here, Double-Olive-Seven”… you just might end up with a cruise of your life. Or perhaps a free drink, at least.
Till the next one, cheers!