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Introduction to Nutritional Benefits of Olives

Olives belong to the group of stone fruits, or drupes and are related to almonds, pistachios, mangoes, cherries and peaches. Most commonly seen in black and green varieties, olives are small fruits that grow trees. Olives are an important component in Mediterranean cuisine and are becoming more and more popular in all parts of the world day by day. It is believed that olives have several health benefits, thanks to the healthy fats they contain. Studies have shown that olives can guard you against cancer or osteoporosis, and are high in vitamin E. Olive oil is often suggested as a healthier alternative to vegetable oil or butter. Olives on their own are super versatile as well, and you can add them to salads, sandwiches, pasta, dips, tapenades, pizza and so on. Here is all you need to know about olives’ nutritional value and health benefits.

Nutritional Facts of olives (Table with details on all Macronutrients)

Olives can be green or black, and some immature olives begin as green as they ripen, turn black. In the Mediterranean region, most of the olive produce goes towards making olive oil. For every 100 grams of olives, the stone fruits contain 115-145 calories.

Here is a quick look at the nutritional content of olives.

Nutrients in Olives

Olives Nutritional Value (Per 100 grams)

Calories

115

Water

80%

Protein

0.8 grams

Carbs

6.3 grams

Sugar

0 grams

Fiber

3.2 grams

Fat

-Saturated

-Monounsaturated

-Polyunsaturated

10.7 grams

-1.42 grams

-7.89 grams

-0.91 grams

Important Macro & Micronutrients

  • Fats: Olives carry 11% to 15% fats, of which 74% is the monounsaturated fatty acid - oleic acid. This is the primary component in olive oil, and is linked with reduced risk of heart conditions and is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Carbs: Olives contain about 4%-6% carbs, making them a good diet addition for those who are carb-conscious.

  • Fiber: Most of the carb content in olives is fiber, and about 52%-86% of the carbs in olives are fiber. As the net digestible carbs are still very minimal, olives are not the greatest source of fiber.

  • Vitamins and minerals: Olives have vitamins such as Vitamin E, and minerals such as Copper, Calcium, Iron and Sodium. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and is one of the olives benefits for hair. It also counts as one of the olives benefits for skin and joint lubrication. Calcium contributes to bone and muscle health as well, whereas copper is vital for efficient heart function. Iron is key for RBC production in the body.

  • Other plant compounds: Olives are rich in powerful antioxidants such as Oleuropein, which is found in unripe olives, Quercetin and Hydroxytyrosol. While tyrosol is not as powerful as hydroxytyrosol, it is still good for your health and is found mainly in olive oil. Another antioxidant in olives is Oleanolic acid which reduces inflammation, bad fats in the blood and protects the body from liver damage.

Health Benefits of Olives

As a staple in Mediterranean diets, which is quickly growing popular as a healthy diet, olives are associated with numerous health benefits. Here are a few of the main benefits of olives:

1. Antioxidant properties

The antioxidants present in olives have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. Studies have shown that even eating puppy olive residue stimulates the levels of glutathione which is one of the most important antioxidants.

2. Healthier heart

Oleic acid is strongly linked to a healthier heart, regulation of cholesterol levels and prevention of LDL or bad cholesterol oxidation. Olives are also believed to help in reducing high blood pressure.

3. Better bone health

Osteoporosis leads to poor bone health and density. It is widely speculated that olives and the plant compounds found in them contribute to better bone health. Studies have also shown that people with Mediterranean diets have lower rates of osteoporosis.

4. Prevention of cancer

In the Mediterranean regions, where olives and olive oil are consumed on an everyday basis, the rates of chronic diseases and cancer are significantly lower than in Western countries. The high concentration of anti-oxidants and oleic acid is believed to contribute to breaking up the proliferation of cancer cells in the body. Studies have seen this in cases of colon cancer, breast cancer as well as stomach cancer. However, further research is needed to find concrete evidence with regards to olives and cancer prevention.

5. Keeps Your Weight in Check

Olives are an excellent source of healthy fats and can help you keep your health as well as weight in check by including olive oil in your diet.

6. Olive Oil for Hair and Healthy Skin

The vitamin E in olive oil makes it a wonderfully nourishing superfood for your hair. Vitamin E is also commonly used in moisturizers. One of the uses of olives is using a little bit of olive oil for a massage or in your hair mask for healthy, nourished and glowing skin and mane of hair.

Conclusion

Olives are a delicious and savoury ingredient that can pair well with almost anything. Not only are they an elegant ingredient, but they are also packed with nutrients that are good for your body. High in healthy fats and low in carbs, eating olives has advantages that can transform your health. Perfect for a diet oriented around whole foods, this stone fruit can help you ward off heart disease, creaky joints, dry skin and brittle hair. It also fits in easily with most diets and can help you in your fitness journey. However, eating olives will not single handedly protect your health. Regular exercise and extra precautions like getting health insurance to protect your financial health will always pay off in the long run!

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