Nutrition and Health Benefits of Olives

Digestive tract health

Frequent consumption of both vitamin E and monounsaturated fats in black olives is associated with lower rates of colon cancer. These nutrients help prevent colon cancer by neutralizing free radicals. Olive oil's protective function also has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs, thereby lowering the incidence of gallstone formation. A cup of black olives also contains 17% of the daily allowance of fiber, which promotes digestive tract health by helping to move food through the system at a healthier pace. This keeps any one part of the digestive tract from having to work too hard and supports the ideal balance of chemicals and populations of microorganisms required for a healthy digestive system. Olives may also fight against the bacteria responsible for infections in the airway and stomach.

Great Source of Fiber

The fiber content in Kalamata olives aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system, preventing constipation, and promoting regular bowel movements. Olives pack some dietary fiber, about 1.5 grams per 10 olives. We know now that your microbiome (that colony of resident good bacteria that live in your body, mostly in your gut) subsists on the fiber you eat. The nourishment of your microbiome is pivotally important to your overall health.

Fiber helps:

  • Maintain good digestion.
  • Reduce your heart disease risk.
  • Keep you full for longer.

Some Olives Are Probiotic-Rich

Olives are one of the most popular fermented foods, by consuming such foods you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your intestinal flora, which increases the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system and may enhance your immune function. Kalamata olives are made via the process of natural lactic acid fermentation, resulting in a live-culture food, teaming with good-guy bacteria known as probiotics. Probiotic-rich foods are gut health superfoods and are recommended by leading scientists, doctors, and nutritionists as part of any gut-healthy protocol, which can help promote digestion and enhance immunity.

Important to know is that not all olives are live, raw, probiotic foods. Pasteurized olives do not contain live cultures.

Olives Help Regulate Appetite Control and May Aid in Weight Loss

The healthy fats in Kalamata olives promote satiety, making it easier to control appetite and maintain a healthy weight. Olives, which have a lot of fat, are a filling snack. That's because fat takes longer to digest, so it helps make you feel full. They're good for your health and keep hunger at bay until your next meal.

As long as you eat a small amount of olives, they're a healthy snack. Ten olives only have about 50 calories. They have a 'negative calorie load', which means you burn more calories digesting an olive than you gain eating one. Olives also help your body to stimulate the production of adiponectin, a chemical that burns fat for up to five hours after ingestion.

Olives are a staple of the Mediterranean diet but also fit into multiple eating patterns. Olives have almost no carbohydrates, making them a good choice for low-carb plans like keto, and they are a fine snack for people who follow plant-based diets, too.

And olives offer a variety of flavors. All olives are salty, but some have added spices that give them different flavors. You can also find olives that are stuffed with garlic or red peppers (among other delicacies, too).

By eating a few olives before a meal, you can take the edge off your appetite. This is because the monounsaturated fatty acids contained in healthy olives slow down the digestion process and stimulate the hormone cholecystokinin, which sends messages of fullness and satisfaction to the brain.

Olives Help Manage Blood Sugar Levels

Olives have a low glycemic index, making them a suitable choice for individuals with diabetes. Studies have shown that olives can help lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels. Since they have a low glycemic index, they do not cause blood sugar spikes and prevent the sudden release of carbs into the blood. Metabolic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, have been shown to benefit from eating foods high in MUFAs. Researchers found that higher intakes of MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids) from plants were associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, they found that MUFAs from animal-based foods were linked to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. They suggest replacing refined carbohydrates, trans-fats and animal-based MUFAs with plant-based MUFAs to lower your risk of diabetes potentially. One study in mice compared the effects of oleic acid (the fat in olives) against palmitate, a saturated fat found in palm oil and butter. Palmitate was more associated with insulin resistance compared to oleic acid. Insulin resistance is associated with higher blood sugar levels, a precursor of diabetes.

Another key component of kalamata olives that aids in blood sugar management is their high fiber content. Fiber plays a crucial role in slowing down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.

Olives Lower the Risk of Cognitive Diseases

The healthy fats in olives support brain health and may help improve memory and cognitive function. According to some research studies, people who eat kalamata olives regularly as part of a Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop dementia and tend to live longer as well. Due to the presence of oleocanthal, kalamata oil helps prevent the buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain which may be linked to the development of dementia. However, more research is needed. Some research points to the intake of extra virgin olive oil, which is high in MUFAS, as being neuroprotective. In other words, it may protect and have a positive effect on the nervous system. This, in turn, could potentially slow cognitive decline, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The oleocanthal in olives and olive oil is also linked to a reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease and other brain-related diseases. This compound also increases the activity of the drug donepezil, which is used to treat dementia.

Loaded With Minerals

  • Iron. Some varieties of black olives provide about 4% of your daily nutritional requirements. Iron promotes the formation of red blood cells, preventing anemia. If we suffer from a lack of iron, our tissues don't get enough oxygen, and we may feel cold or weak. Iron also plays a vital role in the production of energy. It is a necessary part of several enzymes, including iron catalase, iron peroxidase, and cytochrome enzymes. It also helps produce carnitine, a nonessential amino acid important for the utilization of fat. Proper function of the immune system is dependent on sufficient iron.
  • 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. Some methods of olive processing add calcium to the fruit.

Antimicrobial Properties and Immune-Boosting Effects

Kalamata olives contain compounds that exhibit antimicrobial properties, potentially aiding in the fight against harmful bacteria. Olives contain also vitamin E, which bolsters immune function and helps protect against infections.

Olives Promote Liver Health

Due to the powerful antioxidants in Kalamata olives, they assist in detoxification, promoting optimal liver function.

Olives have Anti-Allergenic Effects

Olives possess anti-allergenic properties, which may help alleviate allergy symptoms.

Great Source of Energy

Kalamata olives provide a good source of healthy fats, which can contribute to sustained energy levels throughout the day.