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Health Food Finds: Olive Leaf Tea

You know that olive oil is good for you, but did you know the olive tree itself has health benefits?

No, I don’t mean that you should go chew on some bark, but you might want to try drinking some tea! Tea made from the leaves of the olive tree has a ton of health benefits big time.

Olives have long been revered as a health food. Ancient Greek and Italian cultures relied heavily on Olive trees, and the Mediterranean diet is still regarded as one of the healthiest in the world. No wonder everyone over there is so cute…! Well olive oil is full of healthy fats and can lower your risk of heart disease. But ancient cultures didn’t just use the fruit of the olive tree; they also used the leaves.

Experts are just catching on to what ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans knew about olive leaves. They used olive leaves as medicine to cure a huge range of ailments. It turns out they may have been on to something! Olive leaves are full of a compound called oleuropein, which has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. The leaves may also have anti-inflammatory properties, protect against nerve damage, and help to reduce the risk of malarial infection. Oleuropein is also thought to help the body burn fat more efficiently. Science is just beginning to discover all that olive leaves have to offer.

Olive leaves are also full of other antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of disease. In fact, olive leaf tea is significantly higher in antioxidants than green tea, which has been the healthy tea of choice in recent years. Although olive leaf tea isn’t yet well-known in the US, look for it to explode onto the market in the near future. It’s already a popular drink in Europe, and is poised to become the health drink of choice here as well.

Look for olive leaf tea in health food stores or online.The tea has a very mild, slightly earthy taste. Try it with honey and lemon for a sore throat soother, or brew it with a cinnamon stick for a spicy drink to warm up with. That last suggestion will be perfect for the holidays! But, my favorite way to drink it is with just a little bit of agave syrup for sweetness. It’s caffeine free, making it great bedtime drink. Try some yourself and let me know what you think!

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