A PARTICULAR strain of olive from the Malaga region has been found to help stop people absorbing toxic heavy metals during digestion.
Researchers at the University of Jaen have found that bacteria present in cured olives – they focused on those from Alora, inland from the Costa del Sol – can help limit the absorption of metals such as arsenic, cadmium and mercury molecules into the bloodstream.
The bacteria acts like a sponge, absorbing the metals which are then excreted from the human digestive system.
This could be important news as toxic heavy metals can get into the food supplies via contaminated soil or water. While there are strict European rules for maximum permitted levels of these metals in food, children and pregnant women are more susceptible to the toxins.
The bacteria found in the olives from Alora are said to be unique in having a genetic component in their DNA giving them this quality. The Lactobacillus pentosus strain is present in the trees naturally, but multiply considerably as the olives are cured.