Olive: 8 Health Benefits of Black, Green Olives. Oil Nutrition Facts.

The Olive tree, Olea europaea, grows naturally in the Mediterranean, Asia, and Africa. Farmers cultivate the tree primarily for its fruit, also known as olives, which they use to produce olive oil. Harvesters gather the small, bitter fruit and process it to extract olive oil, a staple in Mediterranean cuisine known for its health benefits and culinary versatility. Olives feature prominently in various culinary dishes. Symbolically, people often associate an olive branch with peace and goodwill, a tradition originating from ancient Greek and Roman cultures. In those societies, olive branches symbolized peace agreements and the resolution of conflicts.

Olive Nutrition Facts and Calories Chart

Olive oil is a great source of healthy fats, making it a great addition to any diet. It contains monounsaturated fats, which can help to reduce cholesterol and control blood sugar levels. Olive oil is high in antioxidants that can help protect against cell damage and reduce inflammation. It also contains vitamins A, D, E, and K, and minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium. Olive oil can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. When used in place of other oils, it can add flavor and nutrition to many dishes. Nutritional value per 100 g olives:

  • Biotin: 0.1 µg
  • Calcium: 41 mg
  • Carbohydrates (Carbs): 4.7 g
  • Chloride: 11 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Choline: 8.1 mg
  • Chromium: 0 µg
  • Copper: 0.2 mg
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
  • Energy (Calories): 115 kcal
  • Fat: 11.1 g
  • Iodine: 2.3 µg
  • Iron: 1.2 mg
  • Magnesium: 21 mg
  • Manganese: 0.2 mg
  • Molybdenum: 0 µg
  • Pantothenic Acid: 0.4 mg
  • Phosphorus: 42 mg
  • Potassium: 241 mg
  • Protein: 1.7 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 g
  • Selenium: 0.5 µg
  • Sodium: 1232 mg
  • Sugars: 0.3 g
  • Vitamin A: 50 IU
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 0.8 mg
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 0.4 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate / Folic Acid): 53 µg
  • Vitamin B12: 0 µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.5 mg
  • Vitamin D: 0 IU
  • Vitamin E: 0.6 mg
  • Vitamin K: 9.2 µg
  • Water: 7.3 g
  • Zinc: 0.3 mg

Olive In India

People have cultivated it for at least 4,000 years due to its edible fruit and valuable oil. It is a long-lived, evergreen, subtropical tree. It is native to the eastern Mediterranean region. The leathery leaves are dark green on top and have silvery scales underneath. The tree yields fragrant white flowers and an oblong or nearly round type of fruit called a drupe that becomes shiny black when ripe. People use its leaves and the oil of its fruit in cooking and for medicinal purposes. Studies indicate that it exerts powerful anti-cholesterol action in the body, rendering it a useful addition to any home medicine cabinet.

  • Scientific Binomial: Olea europaea
  • Common English: European Olive
  • Ayurvedic
  • Unani: Zaitoon
  • Sanskrit: Jaitun
  • Hindi / Urdu: Zaitun
  • Bengali
  • Marathi
  • Telugu
  • Tamil: Ellu / Yellu / Saidun
  • Gujarati
  • Kannada
  • Malayalam
  • Oriya
  • Punjabi / Sindhi
  • Assamese
  • Kashmiri
  • Konkani
  • Manipuri
  • Dogri
  • Bhojpuri

Health Benefits

The oil produced from the fruit holds worldwide appeal for its excellent cooking and baking properties, making it quite valuable. People consider olive oil as a light, easy-to-digest, and beneficial cooking oil. It is good base to make infused herbal oils. Fruits are rich source of isoleucine, vitamin E. Isoleucine is the amino acid essential for maintaining the nitrogen balance vital to all body functions. Vitamin E keeps the scalp in good condition.

1. Skin Care

For those experiencing loose, sagging skin around the face and neck areas or abdominal region due to recent weight loss, consider trying an effective remedy with eggs and olive oil. Take yolks of two eggs and beats them good with 1/2 cup of olive oil. Then brush it on face and neck. Keep it for 10 minutes. Now take whites of both eggs and put over this. Leave the entire mask for about half an hour. Wash it to get really tighten good looking skin.

2. Hair Care

For centuries, people have used olive oil to beautify the skin and hair, and we still recognize its benefits today. It mixes well with other carrier oils. For dry hair, make your own conditioner by mixing two ounces olive oil and two ounces Aloe Vera gel with six drops of rosemary essential oil. Olive oil is a natural emollient, Aloe Vera hydrates, while rosemary adds body and softness to hair. Leave the mixture on for an hour or two, then rinse it out.

3. Heart Health

Olive oil contains mono-saturated fats, which have more or less neutral effect on the LDL level but seems to increases levels of HDL. Monounsaturated fat refers to fatty acids that have one double bond. The double bond affects the function of the fatty acids and makes the fat useful for certain cell functions. One study found that people who ate about 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day had lower LDL levels in just one week. Use it in garlic bread, salad dressings, in place of margarine, and in place of other oils when sauteing. Olive oil, taken daily, can reduce the risk of heart disease and help to slow down the degenerative effects of aging. Olives and olive oil, as part of a daily diet, will help to prevent and treat circulatory problems, and lower cholesterol levels.

4. Head Lice Remedy

For head lice, mix a half-cup vinegar with a half-cup olive oil. About an hour before taking shower, apply this mixture to hair, working it in close to the scalp. Put a shower cap over hair. After an hour, remove the cap and take shower, washing hair with regular shampoo.

5. Ear Pain Relief

To relieve earache pain, take few drops of warm olive oil onto a small cotton ball and place the oil-dampened portion gently inside ear. Leave enough sticking out to make it easy to remove. Keep it in for several hours. To treat built-up wax, first use warmed (35°C) olive oil as ear drops for a few days, then rinse out the softened wax plug with lukewarm chamomile tea. If your ear itches, mix a few drops of lavender oil with a teaspoon of olive oil and rub the mixture in outer ear. You don’t need to use much.

6. Athlete’s Foot

For athlete’s foot try a soothing, healing treatment with tea tree and olive oil. Mix tea-tree oil with the same amount of olive oil and rub the combination into the affected area twice a day. The olive oil helps tenderize skin toughened by athlete’s foot so that it absorbs tea-tree oil better. Same trick works for cold sores.

7. Infant Teething

When infant children begin their period of teething, often times they are in varying degrees of pain. An effective way of reducing their pain is to rub their sore, little gums with some pure virgin olive oil several times a day.

8. Common Home Remedies
  • Constipation: Olive oil is best remedy to combat constipation. Try taking at least 1 tablespoon of oil along with different recipes.
  • Anemia: Olive is the remedy for people who feel completely drained of energy and who have lost any interest in social or other activities. It is a potent way to address the prolonged fatigue that accompanies anemia.
  • Psoriasis: During psoriasis, skin become very dry. After each bath applying little olive oil may be helpful to keep skin moist.
  • Athlete’s Foot:
  • Chapped Lips: Olive oil works best to make chapped lips soft and moisture.
  • Piles: For hemorrhoids, make a paste of turmeric and olive oil and apply to area twice a day.
  • Shingles: To treat shingles or wart, take 500 mg four times daily, to benefit from olive leaf’s potent antiviral benefits.
  • Minor Burns: When nothing else is available, olive oil and egg whites effectively treat minor burns on the surface of the skin.
  • Digestive Aid: Nutritionists and naturopathic doctors historically used olive oil to improve bile flow. Use it on salads regularly.
  • Viral Infection: Leaf extract is good if you have a chronic viral infection. Take 500 mg three times daily.
  • Ulcers: Oil is good for ulcers and burns.
  • Heartburn: To relieve heartburn, indigestion and ulcers brought on by stress, spicy food, alcohol, coffee, try olive oil. Mix together 2 tbsps. of pure virgin olive oil with the white of one raw egg. Then take internally several times a day to experience rapid relief.
  • Hangover: To cure a hangover, drink a little extra virgin olive oil.


Q. How are black olives grown?

There are primarily two common methods for obtaining black olives:

  • Natural Ripening on the Tree: One way to get black olives is by allowing them to ripen naturally on the tree. Olives start off green and gradually turn black as they ripen. Once fully ripe, one can harvest them directly from the tree. This method typically produces high-quality olives with a rich flavor profile.
  • Artificial Ripening during Processing: Another method involves harvesting olives while they are still green and then artificially ripening them during processing. Olives harvested green are firm and bitter, so they undergo various curing methods to reduce bitterness and develop flavor. Some common curing methods include:
    • Lye-Curing: Producers soak olives in a lye solution to accelerate the ripening process and reduce bitterness. Then, they rinse and ferment them in brine.
    • Brine-Curing: Producers place olives in a saltwater brine solution and ferment them for several weeks to several months, depending on the desired flavor and texture.
    • Dry-Salt Curing: Producers rub olives with salt and then pack them in layers of salt to draw out moisture and preserve them. Then, they rinse and store them in olive oil or brine.
Q. Are olives a fruit or a vegetable?

Olives are classified as fruits, botanically speaking. They are the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea). Specifically, we consider olives a type of drupe, which is a fruit with a single pit or stone surrounded by flesh. Other examples of drupes include cherries, peaches, and plums. While people commonly associate olives with savory dishes and often use them in culinary applications similar to vegetables, they are indeed fruits from a botanical standpoint. They contain seeds or pits, which people remove during processing for consumption. In culinary terminology, we often categorize foods based on taste and usage rather than botanical classification. This is why people often perceive olives as vegetables, especially since they are commonly used in savory dishes, salads, and appetizers.

Q. What are the different types of olives?

There are many different types of olives, each with its own unique flavor, texture, and color. Some popular varieties of olives include:

  • Kalamata: Originating from Greece, Kalamata olives are dark purple or black in color with a rich, fruity flavor. People often use them in salads, pasta dishes, and as a table olive.
  • Green Manzanilla: Manzanilla olives are small, green olives originally from Spain. They have a firm texture and a slightly nutty flavor, often used in salads, tapenades, and as cocktail olives.
  • Spanish Queen: Spanish Queen olives are large, green olives with a meaty texture and mild flavor. People commonly stuff them with various fillings such as pimientos, almonds, or garlic.
  • Picholine: Picholine olives originate from France and are known for their small size, elongated shape, and vibrant green color. They have a crisp texture and a slightly salty, tangy flavor.
  • Nicoise: Nicoise olives come from the region of Nice in France. They are small, dark brown or black olives with a rich, fruity flavor. Nicoise olives are often used in salads, tapenades, and as a garnish for Mediterranean dishes.
  • Ligurian: Ligurian olives are native to the Liguria region of Italy. They are small to medium in size, with a mild, buttery flavor. Ligurian olives are commonly used in Italian cuisine, particularly in pasta sauces and salads.
  • Castelvetrano: Castelvetrano olives are Italian olives grown in Sicily. They are large, green olives with a buttery texture and a sweet, mild flavor. Castelvetrano olives are often enjoyed as a snack or appetizer.
  • Cerignola: Cerignola olives are large, meaty olives from the Puglia region of Italy. They come in both green and black varieties and have a mild, slightly sweet flavor. Cerignola olives are popular for snacking and antipasto platters.
Q. How can I use olives in cooking?
  • Salads: Add olives to green salads, pasta salads, or grain salads for an extra burst of flavor and texture. Kalamata olives, green olives, and Nicoise olives work particularly well in salads.
  • Pasta: Incorporate olives into pasta dishes such as puttanesca, pasta primavera, or Mediterranean-style pasta. Olives pair well with tomatoes, garlic, capers, and fresh herbs.
  • Pizza: Scatter sliced olives over homemade or store-bought pizzas for a briny, savory flavor. They complement other toppings like pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and cheese.
  • Appetizers: Serve olives as part of an antipasto platter alongside cured meats, cheeses, roasted vegetables, and bread. Stuffed olives, such as those filled with cheese or almonds, make elegant appetizers.
  • Tapenades: Make a classic olive tapenade by blending olives, capers, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice until smooth. Use the tapenade as a spread for crostini, sandwiches, or as a topping for grilled fish or chicken.
  • Stews and Braises: Add olives to hearty stews and braised dishes for depth of flavor. They work well in Mediterranean-inspired dishes like chicken cacciatore, beef tagine, or Spanish-style braised chicken.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Toss olives with roasted vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, and eggplant for a Mediterranean twist. The briny flavor of olives adds complexity to roasted dishes.
  • Bread and Pastries: Incorporate olives into bread dough or pastry dough for savory baked goods. Olive bread, focaccia, or savory olive palmiers are delicious options.
  • Sauces and Dressings: Use olives to flavor sauces and dressings for meats, fish, and salads. Blend olives into tomato sauces, vinaigrettes, or aioli for a punch of flavor.
  • Meat and Seafood: Stuff olives into poultry, pork, or seafood dishes for added flavor and moisture. They can also be used as a garnish for grilled or roasted meats and fish.
Q. How do I store olives?

Storing olives properly helps maintain their flavor, texture, and freshness. Here are some guidelines for storing olives:

  • Refrigeration: Once you’ve opened a jar or container of olives, it’s best to store them in the refrigerator. The cool temperature helps slow down the growth of bacteria and preserves the olives’ quality.
  • Brine or Oil: If the olives are stored in brine (saltwater solution) or olive oil, ensure they are fully submerged. The brine or oil helps prevent spoilage and maintains the olives’ moisture. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent air and contaminants from entering.
  • Covered Container: If you purchase olives from a deli or market and they’re not in brine or oil, transfer them to a covered container before refrigerating. Use a container with a tight-fitting lid to keep the olives fresh and prevent them from absorbing odors from other foods in the refrigerator.
  • Use Within a Few Weeks: Olives stored in the refrigerator should ideally be consumed within a few weeks for optimal freshness and flavor. While olives have a long shelf life, they can lose their texture and flavor over time, especially once they’re exposed to air.
  • Olive Oil Layer: If you store olives in olive oil, a layer of olive oil may solidify in the refrigerator. This is normal and doesn’t indicate spoilage. Allow the olives to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving to soften the oil.
  • Freezing: While olives can be frozen, their texture may change once thawed, becoming softer or mushy. If you plan to freeze olives, place them in an airtight container or freezer bag and remove as much air as possible before sealing. Thaw them in the refrigerator before using.
Q. What is the fat content of olives?

Olives are primarily composed of healthy fats, with the majority being monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid. The fat content of olives varies depending on the type and size, but on average, olives contain about 10-15 grams of fat per 100 grams. While olives are relatively high in fat, they are considered a nutritious food due to their rich nutrient profile and potential health benefits.

Q. Do olives contain vitamins and minerals?

Yes, olives are a good source of various vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant and helps protect cells from damage. Olives also provide small amounts of minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are essential for maintaining overall health and well-being.

Q. Are olives a good source of fiber?

Olives contain dietary fiber, although the amount may vary depending on the variety and processing method. Fiber helps promote digestive health, regulate blood sugar levels, and support heart health. Including olives as part of a balanced diet can contribute to your daily fiber intake.

Q. What does good Italian olive oil taste like?

Good Italian olive oil is known for its rich, fruity flavor with peppery notes and a slightly bitter finish. It should have a bright green color and a distinct aroma reminiscent of freshly cut grass or green olives. High-quality Italian olive oil is often described as complex and well-balanced, with a harmonious blend of flavors.

Q. If olive oil is bad for cooking at high temperature, what oil do Italians use for cooking?

Italians often use oils with higher smoke points for cooking at high temperatures, such as extra virgin olive oil or other vegetable oils like sunflower oil or grapeseed oil. These oils can withstand higher heat without breaking down or producing harmful compounds.

Q. How many olives does it take to make up a tablespoon of olive oil?

It typically takes about 4-5 kilograms (8-11 pounds) of olives to produce one liter (about 4 cups) of olive oil. Therefore, it would take approximately 20-25 olives to yield one tablespoon of olive oil.

Q. How do you know if your olive oil is really olive oil and not a substitute? Is there a test?

There are several tests you can perform to verify the authenticity of olive oil, including taste, smell, and visual inspection. You can also look for certification seals from reputable organizations and purchase olive oil from trusted producers or retailers.

Q. Is frying with olive oil healthy?

Frying with olive oil can be healthy when done correctly. Extra virgin olive oil has a lower smoke point compared to some other oils, so it’s important to avoid overheating it. Cooking at moderate temperatures and using fresh, high-quality olive oil can help preserve its nutritional properties and produce delicious fried foods.

Q. Why do chefs love olive oil?

Chefs love olive oil for its versatility, rich flavor, and health benefits. Olive oil enhances the taste of dishes and can be used for cooking, baking, dressing salads, marinating meats, and finishing dishes. Its distinct aroma and complex flavor profile make it a favorite among culinary professionals.

Q. Why is olive oil very popular in Spain?

Olive oil is deeply ingrained in Spanish cuisine and culture. Spain is one of the world’s largest producers of olive oil, known for its high-quality extra virgin olive oils. Olive oil is a staple ingredient in Spanish cooking, used in a wide variety of dishes, from paella and tapas to soups and sauces. Its popularity in Spain is due to its rich flavor, versatility, and numerous health benefits.

Q. How long do olives last?

The shelf life of olives depends on various factors such as how they’re stored, their packaging, and whether they’re opened or unopened. Here’s a general guideline for how long olives last:

  • Unopened Jar or Can: Unopened jars or cans of olives can last for up to 1-2 years past the expiration date printed on the packaging if stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. However, it’s essential to check for signs of spoilage such as off odors, mold growth, or changes in texture before consuming.
  • Opened Jar or Container (Refrigerated): Once opened, olives stored in the refrigerator typically remain fresh for about 2-3 weeks if kept submerged in brine or olive oil and tightly sealed. It’s best to consume them within this timeframe for optimal flavor and quality.
  • Freshly Prepared Olives: If you purchase olives from a deli or market, their shelf life may vary depending on how they’re prepared and stored. Freshly prepared olives without preservatives may last for about 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  • Frozen Olives: Olives can be frozen for extended storage, but their texture may change upon thawing. Frozen olives can last for several months to a year if properly packaged and stored in the freezer.
Q. Are all olives black?

No, not all olives are black. Olives come in a variety of colors, including green, purple, brown, and black. The color of olives depends on several factors, including the variety of the olive tree, the stage of ripeness when harvested, and the processing methods used. Here’s a brief explanation of the color variations in olives:

  • Green Olives: Green olives are harvested before they ripen fully. They have a firm texture and a slightly bitter taste. Green olives can range in color from light green to dark green, depending on their variety and processing method. Some green olives may also be treated with lye to reduce bitterness and speed up the ripening process.
  • Black Olives: Black olives are ripe olives that have fully matured on the tree. They are typically harvested when they have turned dark purple or black in color. Black olives are softer in texture and have a milder, sweeter flavor compared to green olives.
  • Purple Olives: Some olives have a deep purple or reddish-purple color when ripe. These olives may be referred to as “purple” or “dark” olives, and they fall between the green and black varieties in terms of ripeness and flavor.
  • Brown Olives: Brown olives are another variation that occurs when olives are allowed to fully ripen on the tree but not to the point of turning completely black. They may have a brownish hue and are typically firmer than black olives.
Q. Are green olives less ripe than black olives?

Yes, green olives are generally less ripe than black olives. Olives start out green on the tree and gradually change color as they ripen. The color change from green to black indicates the progression of ripeness in olives. As olives ripen, their taste and texture evolve, with green olives generally being more bitter and firm, while black olives are softer and have a sweeter flavor.

Q. Can olives be included in a Mediterranean diet?

Yes, olives are a staple component of the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, and parts of North Africa and the Middle East. It emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, and olive oil, with moderate consumption of dairy products and red wine. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is associated with numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Olives contribute to the overall nutrient profile of the Mediterranean diet and are an integral part of its health-promoting properties.

Q. Are olives high in fat?

Yes, olives are relatively high in fat, but the majority of the fat they contain is monounsaturated fat, which is considered a healthy type of fat. Monounsaturated fats are known to have beneficial effects on heart health and may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease when consumed as part of a balanced diet. Here’s a breakdown of the fat content in olives:

  • Monounsaturated Fat: Olives are particularly rich in oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat. Oleic acid is the primary fatty acid found in olive oil and is associated with various health benefits, including improved cholesterol levels and reduced inflammation.
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: Olives also contain small amounts of polyunsaturated fat, which includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These essential fats play important roles in brain function, heart health, and overall well-being.
  • Saturated Fat: While olives are low in saturated fat compared to many other foods, they do contain small amounts of saturated fat, which should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Q. Can olives help with weight loss?

Olives are a nutrient-dense food rich in healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants, which can contribute to overall health and well-being. While olives themselves are not typically considered a “weight loss food” due to their calorie and fat content, they can be part of a balanced diet that supports weight management when consumed in moderation.

Q. How many calories are in olives?

The number of calories in olives can vary depending on factors such as the type of olive, its size, and whether it’s canned, fresh, or stuffed. However, here’s a general estimate of the calorie content in various types of olives:

  • Green Olives: On average, one medium-sized green olive contains approximately 5-7 calories.
  • Black Olives: Similarly, one medium-sized black olive contains roughly 5-7 calories.
  • Stuffed Olives: Stuffed olives, such as those filled with pimentos or cheese, may contain slightly more calories due to the additional ingredients. One medium-sized stuffed olive may have around 10-15 calories.

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