Nutritional Benefits of Olives

The Beauty of Olives

Many years ago, we had a beautiful contestant who won as Miss International. Of course, everyone in my country was so excited and the joy that aired our country was so amazingly ecstatic. She was the second Filipina who became Miss International and this was in 1970. Her name is Aurora Pijuan.

The news flash was like a storm and everyone could not wait for her to come home. One thing that stuck with me when I heard the news describing her was that she had olive skin. At that time I really didn’t know what it meant. Everybody agreed with that description and so in my mind, “I’ve got to know what they meant.”

When she came home, I had a real look at her and that was how I understood it. She really had flawless and olive skin. She was so attractive and beautiful.

This memory came to me when I was eating olives the other day mixed with my salad. Thus, the topic now is about olives.

Disclaimer: Information on this topic is derived through Healthline which gives a detailed and concise explanation of the health and nutritional benefits of olives. I do greatly appreciate its contribution and I do give it thanks with a grateful heart.

What is an olive?

The olive, known by the botanical name Olea europaea, meaning “European olive”, is a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae, found traditionally in the Mediterranean Basin. Olives belong to a very special group of fruits called drupes. Drupes are fruits that have a pit or stone at their core,

The vitamins and antioxidants found in olives may provide important health benefits. For example, some studies have shown that olives may protect against osteoporosis, in which bones become brittle or weak. Olives are also rich in vitamin E, which can improve skin health and help your immune system.

Nutrition facts

Olives contain 115–145 calories per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), or about 59 calories for 10 olives.

The nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of ripe, canned olives are:

  • Calories: 115
  • Water: 80%
  • Protein: 0.8 grams
  • Carbs: 6.3 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 3.2 grams
  • Fat: 10.7 grams
    • Saturated: 1.42 grams
    • Monounsaturated: 7.89 grams
    • Polyunsaturated: 0.91 grams


Olives contain 11–15% fat, 74% percent of which is oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fatty acid. It is the main component of olive oil.

Oleic acid is linked to several health benefits, including decreased inflammation and a reduced risk of heart disease. It may even help fight cancer.

Carbs and fiber

Carbs comprise 4–6% of olives, making them a low-carb fruit.

Most of these carbs are fiber. In fact, fiber makes up 52–86% of the total carb content.

The net digestible carb content is therefore very low. However, olives are still a relatively poor source of fiber, since 10 olives only provide about 1.5 grams.

Vitamins and minerals

Olives are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, some of which are added during processing. This fruit’s beneficial compounds include:

  • Vitamin E. High-fat plant foods usually contain high amounts of this powerful antioxidant.
  • Iron. Black olives are a good source of iron, which is important for your red blood cells to transport oxygen.
  • Copper. This essential mineral is often lacking in the typical Western diet. Copper deficiency may increase your risk of heart disease.
  • Calcium. The most abundant mineral in your body, calcium is essential for bone, muscle, and nerve function.
  • Sodium. Most olives contain high amounts of sodium since they’re packaged in brine or saltwater.

Other plant compounds

Olives are rich in many plant compounds, particularly antioxidants, including.

  • Oleuropein. This is the most abundant antioxidant in fresh, unripe olives. It is linked to many health benefits.
  • Hydroxytyrosol. During olive ripening, oleuropein is broken down into hydroxytyrosol. It is also a powerful antioxidant.
  • Tyrosol. Most prevalent in olive oil, this antioxidant is not as potent as hydroxytyrosol. However, it may help prevent heart disease.
  • Oleanolic acid. This antioxidant may help prevent liver damage, regulate blood fats, and reduce inflammation.
  • Quercetin. This nutrient may lower blood pressure and improve heart health.

4 Health benefits of olives

Olives are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. They’re associated with many health benefits, especially for heart health and cancer prevention.

1. Antioxidant properties

Dietary antioxidants have been shown to reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.

Olives are rich in antioxidants, with health benefits ranging from fighting inflammation to reducing microorganism growth.

One study showed that eating a pulpy residue from olives significantly increased blood levels of glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidants in your body.

2. Improved heart health

High blood cholesterol and blood pressure are both risk factors for heart disease.

Oleic acid, the main fatty acid in olives, is associated with improved heart health. It may regulate cholesterol levels and protect LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation.

Furthermore, some studies note that olives and olive oil may reduce blood pressure.

3. Improved bone health

Osteoporosis is characterized by decreased bone mass and bone quality. It can increase your risk of fractures.

The rates of osteoporosis are lower in Mediterranean countries than in the rest of Europe, leading to speculation that olives might protect against this condition.

Some of the plant compounds found in olives and olive oil have been shown to help prevent bone loss in animal studies

While human studies are lacking, animal studies and the data linking the Mediterranean diet to decreased fracture rates are promising.

Cancer prevention

Olives and olive oil are commonly consumed in the Mediterranean region, where rates of cancer and other chronic diseases are lower than in other Western countries.

Thus, it’s possible that olives may help reduce your risk of cancer.

This may be partly due to their high antioxidant and oleic acid contents. Test-tube studies reveal that these compounds disrupt the life cycle of cancer cells in the breast, colon, and stomach.

However, human studies are needed to confirm these results. At this point, it’s unclear whether eating olives or olive oil has any effect on cancer.

3 Potential downsides

Olives are well tolerated by most people but may harbor high amounts of salt due to their packaging liquid.

1. Allergy

While allergy to olive tree pollen is common, allergy to olives is rare.

After eating olives, sensitive individuals may experience allergic reactions in the mouth or throat (39Trusted Source).

2. Heavy metals

Olives may contain heavy metals and minerals like boron, sulfur, tin, and lithium.

Consuming a high quantity of heavy metals may harm your health and increase your risk of cancer. However, the amount of these metals in olives is generally well below the legal limit. Therefore, this fruit is considered safe.

3. Acrylamide

Acrylamide is linked to an increased risk of cancer in some studies, although other scientists question the connection.

However, authorities recommend limiting your acrylamide intake as much as possible.

Some olive varieties — especially ripe, California black olives — may contain high amounts of acrylamide as a result of processing.


You probably don’t think of olives as a fruit, but that’s exactly what they are. Specifically, they’re considered stone fruit, like peaches, mangoes, and dates.

If you’re trying to boost your vitamin E intake, green olives are a healthier option than their black counterparts. People who need to limit their sodium intake should make olives only an occasional part of their diet, but black olives are the better option when you do include them in a meal or recipe.

Though olives may aid weight loss, they’re high in salt and fat — and eating too many of them may offset your weight loss success. As such, you should moderate your intake, limiting yourself to a few ounces at most per day

Please let us know in the comments below.

  • Do you eat olives? If so, how do you prepare it?
  • Does anyone in your family have a history of an illness who might be able to be helped by these recommendations?
  • Has your doctor suggested olives as part of beneficial food for your health?


Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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