Are Olives Good for You?
										Are olives good for you? Learn the possible benefits of eating this pitted fruit.

Are Olives Good for You? Are olives good for you? Learn the possible benefits of eating this pitted fruit.

By now, you’ve most likely heard of the multiple health benefits associated with the Mediterranean Diet, which is said to help reduce inflammation, improve your cognitive function, and help you have a healthier heart. And while the diet consists of many different types of foods, two of the most popular ingredients people indulge in while following this diet are olives and olive oil.

Despite being known as a fatty food, olives are still a mainstay in this health-supporting diet. You may be wondering, how are olives good for you if they’re so high in fat? What nutrients make them so beneficial?

To better understand the possible health benefits of olives, we spoke with a handful of nutrition experts and took a deep dive into the data, in hopes of finding out whether or not green and black olives are actually good for you. Read on to learn more about olives’ nutrition, and for more healthy eating tips on your fave produce, check out 11 Science-Backed Benefits of Bananas.

What are olives?

“Snackable and bite-sized, olives are a real thrill for your taste buds,” says Amy S. Margulies, RD, CDCES, LDN, NBC-HWC, founder of the Rebellious RD. “Plain black olives can give you that salty rush you crave while Kalamata olives give you an exotic Mediterranean kick—all while supplying you with healthy fats, a healthy dose of vitamin E, and other antioxidants.”

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Whether adding to a delicious sub or munching on a handful straight-up as a snack, Margulies suggests keeping your portion sizes to about “10 green olives or 8 black olives,” as this will amount to roughly 4 grams of healthy fats and one gram of saturated fat.

Olives nutrition information

Olives are made up largely of healthy fats, 74% of which is a specific fat called oleic acid. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat and has been known to help with inflammation. Getting more of these “healthy” fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your diet, especially when they replace fats like saturated and trans fats, can significantly help your overall health. You’ll see more specific health benefits related to these fats below.

One of the main benefits of getting more healthy fatty acids in your diet is that they can help you improve your brain health and functioning. Olives and olive oil also contain phenolic compounds, which studies show can help with protecting against age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia. According to an article published in Psychology Today, people who eat plenty of monounsaturated fats often have higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which we need for functions like memory retention and learning.

5 health benefits of eating olives

Some studies have even suggested that the compounds found in olives may have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial in lowering the risk of age-related chronic health issues.

While olives and olive oil have many of the same health benefits, one of the specific effects of eating olives is that they contain dietary fiber! In fact, three ounces of canned olives contain around 3.2 grams of fiber, which is a helpful amount for a small snack. Getting enough fiber in your diet is one of the main keys to a healthy heart, healthy cholesterol levels, good digestion, and longevity as a whole, and olives can play a helpful role in fulfilling your daily dietary fiber needs.

Olives are one of the best heart-healthy foods you can snack on because of their high levels of monounsaturated fats. According to a report published in Lipids in Health and Disease, monounsaturated fats were found to help reduce the overall risk of mortality, stroke, and cardiovascular disease in the study’s participants. Monounsaturated fats can also help you lower “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and raise “good cholesterol” (HDL), which in turn can help you maintain a healthy heart.

Olives are rich in antioxidants, including vitamin E and phenolic compounds. These antioxidants are a deterrent against the cell damage caused by the free radicals that can do your body harm. Another way olives support your cellular health is by being a great source of iron, which your body needs in order to create and generate red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body.

While olives have many health benefits, the curing process does up the sodium content of this fruit before they are taken to market.

“Overall, while olives can be a healthy addition to your diet when consumed in moderation, it’s important to be mindful of your sodium intake and limit your consumption of high-sodium foods,” warns Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, at Balance One Supplements. “Excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems.”

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