Olives. They might be small, but the nutrition and benefits they contain are undeniably amazing. Although most people’s attention focuses primarily on the delicious oil derived from them, olives are undoubtedly one of the most widely loved food all over the world. In addition to being an important ingredient in culinary use, olives also offer a lot of health benefits. If you want to learn more about this amazing food, keep reading!
Olives: What Are They?
Table of Contents
More often than not, we think about olives as zesty vegetables and not as fruit, considering them to be a good addition to salads, poultry dishes, meat dishes and, of course, pizza. Technically speaking, though, olives are classified as fruits of the Olea Europea tree, a tree that usually lives for hundreds of years.
Olives are native to the Mediterranean region, central and tropical Asia, various parts of Africa and warm regions in South America. They have been very beneficial in both the culinary and medicinal field for thousands of years now. In fact, they were even used in ancient Rome and Greece, and are still a staple ingredient in the Mediterranean diet as part of tapenade, pesto and more.
There are about 2000 varieties of olives that grow all over the world, each with important, health-boosting components. The two main kinds of olives are green and black olives. Table olives, which are the olives not grown for extracting oil, may be consumed as an appetizer or a salty snack.
Olives are too bitter if eaten fresh from the tree. They need to be cured first to reduce this intrinsic bitterness. The processing method, however, may vary depending on what variety of olive you are using, the region where they came from and their desired color, texture and taste. While some olives may be allowed to fully ripen on the tree, their colour is not necessarily indicative of their maturity.
Nutritional Facts of Olives
Olives are low in calories and make a great addition to various cuisines, including pizza, pasta and salads. Even though there are several varieties of olives, most of them have the same nutritional value.
On average, a single olive may weigh about 4 grams. The following nutritional facts that you are about to read apply to a serving of about 40 olives.
100 grams of green olives, pickled or canned, may have the following:
|Nutrient||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Vitamin E||3.8 milligrams||19%|
|Vitamin A||393 IU||8%|
- Olives are a drupe, or what they call a stone fruit. They have a hard center, which contains a seed and fleshy fruit surrounding it.
- There is a high sodium content in olives, so it’s important to consume them in moderation.
- The difference between the oil and the fruit mainly lies in preparation. There is a higher sodium content and lower fat content in olives, but olive oil has more polyphenols.
- Olives are oozing with phytonutrients and are a popular way to get antioxidants, reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, relieve pain, prevent and treat cancer and more.
Health Benefits of Olives
Here are some of the most astounding health benefits of olives:
- Has antibacterial properties: the oleuropein in olives may function as an antibacterial and antimicrobial agent in the body. Consuming lots of olives will increase your body’s content of this chemical, which may, in turn, defend the body against bacterial infections.
- Helps improve circulation: olives are rich in iron and copper, both beneficial in creating red blood cells.
- Helps treat allergies: olives may help reduce the frequency or intensity of allergic reactions.
- Aids in digestion: the fiber content of olives ensures proper functioning of the digestive system.
- Helps reduce inflammation: various compounds in olives act as anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. Furthermore, they reduce inflammation in the body.
- Reduces bone loss: the hydroxytyrosol in olives is beneficial in lowering the risk of bone loss.
- Helps prevent cancer: this is one of the best health benefits of olives. The anthocyanins in olives are essential antioxidants, beneficial in preventing cancer.