Olives: Benefits, Risks & More

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Olives: Benefits, Risks & More HealthifyMe Blog HealthifyMe Blog – The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.

Olives are little fruits found in olive trees. They have a high concentration of vitamin E. In addition, there are other potent antioxidants present in them. They are beneficial to the heart and may even fight off osteoporosis and cancer. The healthy fats found in olives are used to extract olive oil. Consequently, it is an essential component of the exceptionally healthy Mediterranean diet. Olives are a part of salads, sandwiches, and tapenades, among other dishes. They are popular as a snack and a component in stews and other dishes. They have a chewy texture and a rich and salty flavour.

The cultivation of olive trees has been going on for more than 7,000 years. Olives are also known as Olea europaea. They are members of the drupe fruit family, also known as stone fruits. Stone fruits include mangoes, cherries, peaches, almonds, and pistachios.

Nutritional Values of Olives

There are many different types of olives. However, one can broadly divide them into two types.

  • Green olives
  • Black olives

Green and black olives aren’t too different from each other. However, they have slightly different macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals values.

A 100 g serving of Black Olives contain:

  • Calories: 116 kcals
  • Protein: 0.84 g
  • Total fat: 10.90 g
  • Carbohydrate: 6.04 g
  • Fibre: 1.60 g

Vitamins and Minerals

  • Vitamin C: 0.90 mg
  • Vitamin B3: 0.04 mg
  • Calcium: 88 mg
  • Iron: 6.28 mg
  • Magnesium: 4 mg
  • Potassium: 8 mg
  • Sodium: 735 mg
  • Zinc: 0.22 mg
  • Copper: 0.25 mg

Olive Oil

These values are different for olive oil. One hundred ml serving of olive oil contains:

  • Calories: 884 kcals
  • Fat: 100 g
  • Sodium: 2 mg
  • Potassium: 1 mg
  • Iron: 0.1 mg
  • Calcium: 1 mg
  • Vitamin K: 21 mg
  • Vitamin E: 26 µg

Olives or Olive Oil?

Both olives and olive oil are healthy due to their high monounsaturated fats. In addition, mono-unsaturated fat can help reduce heart disease, cancer, and obesity. However, it is essential to remember that olive oil is high in calories. Therefore, despite its beneficial role, you should use it in moderation.

Some studies suggest that monounsaturated fats are less fattening. In addition, compared to other forms of fat, the body metabolises and stores them differently. As a result, monounsaturated fats may also lower the risk of blocked arteries and heart disease.

Differences Between Olives and Olive Oil

Olives

  • Whole olives contain fewer amounts of fat and calories. For example, a serving of 10 medium olives contains just 40 kcals.
  • Raw olives generally often contain a lot of sodium. Olives have to be cured or pickled before one can eat them.
  • Olives are fermented naturally, which means they are a source of good bacteria. Usually, one plucks green olives before they mature and has greater polyphenol content.
  • Whole olives contain fibre.

Olive Oil

  • Olive oil is almost entirely fat. A tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories.
  • Olive oil is nearly sodium-free.
  • You can add olive oil to many dishes such as salads and pasta. However, the curing process destroys many polyphenols found in olives, primarily maintained in extra virgin olive oil.
  • Black olives that mature on the tree have a greater oil content.
  • Olive oil doesn’t have any dietary fibre.

Health Benefits of Olives

Olives are the main ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine. The olive oil is produced by crushing olive fruits and extracting the oil from the pulp. They offer several health advantages, including heart health and cancer protection.

1. Fights Cancer

Olives include a high concentration of antioxidants. Therefore, it can help reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, studies prove that these antioxidants help to prevent the uncontrollable growth of cancer cells.

2. Anti-inflammatory Properties

Olives and olive oil have anti-inflammatory properties. They help in reducing robust immune responses in the body. Such reactions result in inflammation. Unfortunately, prolonged inflammation for extended periods may also become harmful. It can lead to diseases such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Studies show that olives’ antioxidants such as oleocanthal and oleic acid are significantly helpful in  reducing inflammation.

3. Improves Cardiovascular Health

Olives significantly lessen the chance of developing heart disease. Extra virgin olive oil is a critical component of a diet that suits heart health. It protects against heart disease in many ways.

Studies show that the mono-unsaturated fats in olive oil may decrease the risk of heart diseases such as stroke. The mono-unsaturated fats in olive break down easily in the body. Thus, it reduces cholesterol storage in the body. It also reduces inflammation and prevents the blockage of arteries.

Some research reviews demonstrate that olive oil has the ability to reduce blood pressure, a significant risk factor for heart disease. Therefore, extra virgin olive oil also has important cardiovascular benefits.

4. Strengthens Bones

Some phytochemicals present in olives and olive oil aid in preventing bone loss. Olive oil supplements improve inflammation and decrease oxidative stress in rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, olives dramatically improve grip power, joint discomfort, and early rigidity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Studies indicate that an olive-rich diet can be associated with reducing fracture rates.

5. Rich in Antioxidants 

Antioxidants in your diet can decrease the chances of developing chronic diseases. High levels of free radicals in the body can cause oxidative stress. As a result, it damages the cells and tissues. Oxidative stress can also cause diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Olives are high in antioxidants, which provide a variety of health advantages. For example, antioxidants help reduce inflammation and microbe growth inhibition. In addition, consuming the pulpy residue from olives raises glutathione. It is one of the most potent antioxidants in the body. According to research, glutathione helps reduce inflammation and aids the body to fight against infection.

6. Antibacterial Properties

Some antioxidants in olive and olive oil aid biological activity and help lessen your chance of developing chronic illnesses. Additionally, they can help reduce inflammation and lower your blood cholesterol levels. As a result, olives may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Olive oil provides a variety of antibacterials that help prevent or eliminate dangerous microorganisms. Helicobacter pylori is one of them. It is a bacteria that dwells in the stomach and may cause stomach ulceration and bowel cancer. However, research has demonstrated that extra virgin olive oil is effective as it can protect against eight potent bacteria strains.

7. Improves Brain Health

Oxidative damage to the brain also leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Excess free radicals produced in the body can damage the brain tissues and this might lead to several symptoms, such as memory loss and confusion.

A study proposed that extra virgin olive oil helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It is due to olive’s protective effect on blood vessels in the brain. Oleocanthal-rich extra virgin olive oil may help reduce or halt the course of Alzheimer’s disease.

8. Helps with Depression

Studies suggest, people who consume unhealthy food are at a greater risk of developing depression. For example, consuming foods rich in trans fats and prepackaged baked products are more likely to suffer from depression.

A research study found that olive oil has antidepressant properties that help preserve the neurological system. In addition, they may be effective in treating depression and anxiety.

Recipes Using Olives and Olive Oil

There are tons of recipes with olive oil. Italian and Pan-European cuisine utilises olive oil to its utmost. However, the same isn’t true for olives. Raw and processed olives aren’t the most excellent tasters out there. Worry not, here are two of our favourite recipes using olives!

1. Olive Salad 

Olives: Benefits, Risks & More- HealthifyMe

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • Green olives: 50 g
  • Lemon (seedless, finely chopped): 5 g
  • Lemon Juice: 30 ml
  • Shallots (finely chopped): 10 g
  • Black Pepper: 2 g
  • Olive oil: 10 ml
  • Mint (chopped): 10 g
  • Parsley (chopped): 10 g

Directions

  1. Crush the olives using the side of a knife. Add them to a bowl.
  2. Add chopped lemons and shallots to a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Season and mix.
  3. Allow 5 minutes for the flavours to combine and the shallots to pickle slightly.
  4. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  5. Olive oil and shallots should be warmed thoroughly and slightly softened for 4 minutes.
  6. Now add them to the mixture.
  7. You can also spice it up with a squeeze of lemon juice or salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Enjoy!

2. Green Olive Herb Pasta 

Olives: Benefits, Risks & More- HealthifyMe

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • Whole wheat Pasta- 220 g
  • Extra-virgin olive oil: 10 ml
  • Garlic (smashed): 2 cloves
  • Parsley (finely chopped): 10 g
  • Olives: 50 g
  • Red Pepper Flakes: 3 g
  • Basil Leaves: 10 g
  • Lemon juice: 5 ml
  • Lemon Zest
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Add the pasta to a big pot of boiling water with salt.
  2. In another heavy bottom pot, warm the oil to medium heat. Add the garlic and parsley and simmer for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Keep stirring regularly and saute the chopped garlic till they are slightly brown.
  4. Add the olives and red pepper flakes.
  5. Transfer the pasta to the sauce in the saucepan and stir it.
  6. Add extra pasta liquid if necessary and cook.
  7. Serve with basil, lemon zest, and lemon juice on top of the spaghetti. Salt to taste if necessary.
  8. Sprinkle some oil over the spaghetti and enjoy.

Possible Risks and Precautions

Olives also have some side effects if you consume more than required. Although these can be mitigated by proper use alongside a balanced diet, knowing them is vital.

Olives are generally very healthy and do not pose risks to your health. However, improper consumption can potentially lead to health issues.

Here are some common potential risks associated with the consumption of olives:

1. Weight Gain

Olives contain lots of sodium. A continued diet with excess sodium may cause bloating. Additionally, high sodium levels can cause severe health issues in the body. Olives also contain lots of fats in them. Although these are good fats and good cholesterol, they might be responsible for causing unnecessary weight gain if consumed excessively.

2. Allergies

Allergies to olives are generally rare. However, olive trees contain lots of pollen. Moreover, pollen allergy is widespread worldwide. Sometimes pollen can stick to the surface of olives.

Studies show that if you are allergic to pollen and consume raw olives, you may experience an allergy. They can worsen any preexisting allergies in people. However, you can avoid this by taking processed olives.

Some common symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Rough throat
  • Itchiness

3. Low-quality Cholesterol

Olives contain low-quality HDL (also known as good cholesterol). However, the amount of HDL in the body isn’t crucial. Instead, it’s how efficiently the HDL works in the body. Its role is to carry the cholesterol from the body to the liver. Therefore, low-quality HDL cannot function efficiently. As a result, olives may negatively affect cholesterol functioning if you consume too many.

4. Contains Heavy Elements

There is a slight possibility that olives contain trace amounts of boron, sulfur, tin, and lithium. Consuming an excessive amount of heavy metals can be detrimental to your health and raise your chance of developing cancer. The level of these metals in olives, on the other hand, is often much below the fatal limit. As a result, this fruit is harmless. However, excessive consumption over the years may have adverse effects.

5. Contains Acrylamide

According to several studies, acrylamide may increase the risk of cancer. In addition, when olives are over-processed, they store some chemicals. As a result, certain olive varieties, particularly mature California black olives have elevated levels of acrylamide due to processing.

Summary

Olives give a savoury note to meals and snacks. They contain healthy fats. Additionally, they are associated with various health advantages, including improved heart health. This fruit is quite simple to integrate into your routine. It complements a healthy, whole-food-based diet well. Finally, high-quality extra virgin olive oil may improve your heart, brain, and joint health due to its potent antioxidants.

Generations have benefited from olives and olive oil. However, olives are high in dietary fibre, essential for optimal gut health. Additionally, they include minerals that the body needs for proper functioning, such as iron and copper. Consume olives in moderation, as their preservation happens in a brine that is heavy in salt.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is it good to eat olives every day?

A. You can eat olives every day. Olives have a high concentration of vitamin E and other potent antioxidants. They are beneficial to the heart and help prevent osteoporosis and cancer. To stay under the fat consumption requirements, restrict your consumption up to 24 olives each day.

Q. Do olives have any health benefits?

A. Yes, olives have many health benefits. They contain antioxidants that regulate your cholesterol. They aid metabolism by speeding up your digestion. Olives also contain vitamin E and good fats. In addition, these fight against obesity and diabetes. They can even help fight osteoporosis and cancer.

Q. Are olives good for your skin?

A. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants. It prevents oxidative stress caused by excess free radicals. In addition, antioxidants inhibit ageing. Olives contain oleic acid, which improves skin health. The antibacterial properties of olive oil destroys bacteria from the skin and prevents acne.

Q. Do olives reduce belly fat?

A. Low-calorie density and good sources of healthy fats. These fruits can help you lose weight by making you feel full for longer. In addition, they reduce food cravings by delaying hunger. However, when consumed in excess, they can have quite the opposite effect.

Q. What are the side effects of eating olives?

A. Although olives have a plethora of health benefits. However, canned olives come in brine, which increases their sodium content (salt). A diet heavy in salt may lead to the development of heart diseases.

Q. Are olives high in salt?

A. Olives contain a heavy amount of sodium. A single olive has more than 100 mg of sodium. Therefore, a 100 gram serving of green olives provides 1550 mg of sodium. This amount is around 60% of your daily recommended value.

Q. Are green olives healthier than black olives?

A. There are no significant distinctions between the two hues. Olives contain a variety of beneficial lipids and minerals, like copper and iron. Additionally, these are full of vitamin E and other antioxidants.

Q. Does eating olives help hair grow?

A. Olives include fatty acids that can help heal hair shaft damage. Additionally, frequent use of black olives for hair can aid in the preservation of natural hair colour.

Q. When is the best time to eat olives?

A. One can eat olives at any time of the day. However, they are rich in healthy fats. Therefore one can eat them before bedtime, if you wish to have a healthy night time snack. In addition, they balance blood sugar, help you feel fuller, and aid a good night’s sleep.

Q. Are olives good for hair growth?

A. Olives include fatty acids that aids in the healing of damaged hair shafts. Additionally, regular use of black olives for hair might assist in retaining the natural colour of your scalp. On the other hand, olives do not promote hair growth independently.

Q. Are olives good for your liver?

A. Olive oil safeguards the liver from oxidative damage. A well-balanced diet rich in olive oil helped the liver recover from hepatic steatosis. The beneficial benefits of olive oil on liver fat and other areas of health make it an essential component of a balanced diet.

Q. Are olives OK for high blood pressure?

A. Yes, olives are high in heart-healthy fats that help decrease your systolic blood pressure. Olives, on the other hand, are also high in salt. So, excessive sodium buildup can be the contributing factor  to cardiovascular problems in the long run.

Q. How many olives should I eat a day?

A. Olives are a healthy snack that one may have daily. Compared to other fruits and vegetables, olives have a high concentration of vitamin E and other powerful antioxidants. They are also advantageous to the immune system. However, limit your consumption of olives to no more than 24 per day to meet the recommended daily fat intake.

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