Are olives good for you? You might be wondering this question since it might be a big question. On one hand, the small fruit is often featured in foods like olive oil and pickled olives. However, there are a few issues and especially high-fat content. Olives are high in fat like avocado and coconut. Fun Fact: One serving of black olives has about 11g of fat, which is very high for such a fruit. You might be wondering if this is a problem in terms of health. Today low-carb, high-fat diets are trending but it might be an issue about whether or not this is healthy or unhealthy.
One of the issues when picking olive products is whether to buy fresh or pickled olives. The fermented ones taste different since they have a salty and sour taste. There are other popular pickled foods like cucumbers, cabbages, and radishes. It turns out the fermenting process boosts healthy bacteria and improves gut health. You can also get healthy omega-3 fatty acids from olive oil. However, there’s still the question about the nutritional value of olives in different forms like raw, pickled, or oil. You’ll also want to know the nutrition facts like macros including fat, carbs, and protein.
Green and Black Olives Explained
In the past, these two types of olives have been trending for different reasons. For example, back in the day, pimento-stuffed (cherry peppers) olives were trending. Then in the 1970s black olives were the in-thing. This included Greek black olives. Fun Fact: black and green olives are high in a healthy fat called MCT. More on that later.
However, there’s a caveat. Many so-called “black-olives” aren’t black. They’re just green olives that have been colored through food processing of unripe fruit. So, it turns out some companies were trying to turn a profit through some questionable business practices.
Then green olives started to make a comeback in the early 2000s. This was due to the fact Spanish food itself was trending again. The olives differed in types and sizes. This caused many black olive fans to switch to green olives.
The difference between green and black olives is simple. Green olives are unripe olives that turn black after they’re picked. When they ripen, they switch from green to black. Both types of fruits are cured in a salt solution. In the case of green olives, this must be done before they ripen and turn black.
Both of the olives are usually soaked in stuff made from wood ash. They’re then cured in brine to lower the bitterness. More soaking is required to make the fruits less bitter. One of the results is black olive usually has less salt but more oil. This is due to the processing and packing.
In terms of nutrition, both colored fruits are about the same. They have lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like Vitamin E, iron, and copper. The main difference between the two is related to salt. That’s because green olives have around 2x more salt versus black olives.
Are Olives Good for You?
Here are some of the top health benefits of olives:
There are about 7 calories in one olive. They have something called “negative calorie load.” In other words, you burn more calories digesting the olive than it has itself.
This might be surprising, but the food is high-fiber. This is good for digestion since the body doesn’t digest fiber, but it helps the digestive system’s function.
Olives can help to boost memory by reducing oxygen-caused stress on the brain. Eating a daily serving of olives can improve your memory.
4. Less pain
Studies show that high-antioxidant foods can reduce inflammation. This can help to protect you from various diseases like cancer and others.
The little fruits are antioxidant-rich so when you eat them you can help boost your immune system. They’ll help to prevent illness/disease by keeping away bad molecules known as free radicals.
6. Vitamin E
This helps to fight bad molecules that attack healthy cells. It can also help with cell damage. Other foods high in Vitamin E include fatty fish. Real food is always the best source of vitamins like this one.
Olives can help to make your skin healthy since there’s something in it called “oleic acid.” It’s a lot cheaper than skin cream.
8. Appetite Control
Fat has 2x more calories than carbs and protein. Eating olives can help control appetite since you’ll feel fuller.
9. Healthy Fat
Olive oil is high in something called MCTs, which is fat that you can get from foods including dairy. This food can also help boost the good/bad cholesterol ratio. Healthy fat is very important for several body functions.
The antioxidants in olives can help to lower inflammation and the bad effects of oxygen. These benefits can help to fight off cancer cells.
Top Ways to Eat Olives
This is an excellent way to enjoy olives. You can get different flavors/textures of green and black olives by roasting them together. This is a super-healthy way to prepare food since it helps to retain nutrients better than other options like boiling.
This is one that might be odd at first when you see black or green rings in the bread. However, it’s a great way to add some extra healthy fats and vitamins/minerals to your favorite bread. It’s also a good variant if you’re on the Keto diet since it’s also low-carb.
You can also use olives to make vegetarian tarts. It’s a great way to make your baked goods healthier since it combines some healthy fruits with your pastries.
You can combine olives and tangerines with roasted chicken to make a hearty dinner dish. The roasted chicken itself is one of the healthiest/tastiest ways to prepare the poultry. The different fruits will add different flavors to the classic dish.
You can make a hearty lamb stew with options like potatoes, anchovies, tomatoes, and olives. One of the plusses of stews is they’re heartier than soup. So, this is an excellent option for cold winter nights when you want to combine protein, veggies, and fruits (tomatoes and olives).
This is one of the most popular dishes that contain olives. For example, you can make a Mediterranean tuna salad that features fatty fish, raw veggies, and small fruit. You can also add olives to basic vegetable salads to add some salty goodness.
You can sometimes find green olives stuffed with pimento (cherry peppers). You can recreate this combo with green olives/pimento hummus. This is a tasty and healthy dip you can pair with potato chips, tortilla chips, or fresh veggies after learning is olives good for you.