Olives: Nutrition and health benefits

health benefits of olivesFrom the trees of the Mediterranean come a delicious and healthy fruit. While most people use olives to complement savory dishes, this food item is classified as fruit – even if we tend to use it like a vegetable. Not only good with a martini, olives come in a wide variety and offer health benefits as well.

Types of olives include:

  • Kalamata
  • Castelvetrano
  • Cerignola
  • Nyon
  • Nicoise
  • Liguria
  • Gaeta
  • Picholine
  • Gordal
  • Alfonso
  • Mission
  • Manzanilla
  • Beldi
  • Amfissa.

Olive colors can range from green, to black to even different shades of purple. How they are cured can affect their taste. There are five different methods of curing olives. This process turns the olives’ natural sugars into lactic acid. Curing methods of olives are:

  • brine-curing (olives are left in a salt-water solution)
  • water-curing (continuous soaking and rinsing in water)
  • dry-curing (olives are packed in salt over months)
  • lye-curing (olives are submerged in an alkaline solution)
  • sun/air-curing (olives are left on the branch or in the sun).

Nutritional value of olives


The variety of the olive will determine its nutritional value, but typically olives are low in calories, fat, carbohydrates and contain no sugar. Olives also contain small amounts of protein, potassium and are a good source of fiber. Unfortunately olives can be high in sodium, but this is also determined by how they have been cured. Lastly, olives are a good source of iron.

Olives can easily be enjoyed in a healthy balanced diet.

Olives Nutrition Facts


Nutrient Value for per 100 g
Nutrients Energy115 Kcal
Carbohydrates6.26   g
Total Fat10.68 g
Protein0.84   g
Cholesterol0     mg
Dietary Fiber3.2     g
VitaminsVitamin A403 IU
Vitamin C0.9 mg
Vitamin E1.65 mg
Vitamin K1.4 µg
Riboflavin0 mg
Pyridoxine0.009 mg
Niacin0.037 mg
MineralsCalcium 88 mg
Iron3.30 mg
Magnesium4 mg
Phosphorus3 mg
ElectrolytesSodium735 mg
Potassium8 mg

5 health benefits of olives

olives benefitsHeart health: Olives contain healthy fats, which can boost and contribute to heart health. Olive oil in particular has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, enjoying olives may contribute to lower blood pressure, which also happens to be a factor in poor heart health.

Bone health: Research of the Mediterranean diet has revealed that the consumption of olives may aid in bone health. Research shows that compounds in olives can help increase calcium deposition and bone growth.

Inflammation: Inflammation is the body’s response to trauma or infection, but sometimes it can harm one’s health as well. The antioxidant compounds in olives have been shown to help reduce harmful inflammation. Furthermore, they may aid in the reduction of pain in joints.

Digestion: Olives contain fiber, which aids in digestion. Fiber is beneficial to keep us regular and relieve constipation. Fiber also keeps us full, meaning we won’t eat as much, which can help contribute to weight loss.

Circulation: Iron and copper are necessary for the production of red blood cells, which keep us healthy. A reduction in iron can lead to anemia, which causes symptoms of fatigue and cognitive malfunction. Olives provide a good supply of iron to ensure blood keeps pumping.

With a daily place on your plate olives can help benefit major systems in your body. The best part is they can be eaten alone or incorporated into many dishes. Pizza topping anyone?

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