10 Reasons To Eat Olives

Alona Arel,Beauty and Longevity Specialist
Last edited, 19 February 2024

Olives, often hailed as a staple in Mediterranean cuisine, are more than just a flavorful addition to salads and dishes. Packed with a myriad of health benefits, these small, mighty fruits (yes, olives are fruits), have earned their reputation as nutritional powerhouses.

In this article, we delve into the science-backed reasons why incorporating olives into your diet can contribute to a healthier and more vibrant lifestyle.

Table of Contents

Weight Loss​

Dive into the world of olives, the unsung heroes of healthy snacking! Packed with monounsaturated fats that do wonders for your cholesterol, these little green powerhouses not only satisfy your cravings but also keep you feeling full. And that’s just the beginning!

In the epic quest for weight loss, many get caught up in the allure of quick fixes and trendy diets. But wait, there’s more to the story! Don’t let the pursuit of a slimmer figure overshadow the importance of an all-encompassing approach to your well-being.

10 Reasons to Eat Olives

Enter olives, the rockstars of the Mediterranean diet scene. These little green wonders bring a fresh perspective to the weight-loss game. Instead of fixating solely on calorie counts, let’s talk about balance and sustainability. The Mediterranean diet, renowned for its health benefits, champions nutrient-rich foods like olives, promoting a lifestyle centered around whole, unprocessed goodness.

But hold on, there’s more science to back it up! Olives boast a rock-bottom glycemic load of 0.9 and a glycemic index of 15, putting them in the low GI food hall of fame. And for the stats lovers out there, 100 grams of olives pack a punch with 115 kcal, 0.8 grams of proteins, 6.3 grams of carbs, and 10.7 grams of fat.

So, why settle for a bland diet when you can spice things up with olives? Not only do they bring potential weight loss benefits to the table, but they also invite you to embrace a sustainable, nourishing approach to your overall well-being. It’s time to snack smart and live well!

Improves Eyesight​

Dive into the realm of ocular well-being, where olives emerge as formidable guardians, armed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant weaponry such as polyphenols and vitamin E. While not touted as the primary source of vitamin A, olives wield a unique blend of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants, hinting at a potential role in fortifying eye health.

Let’s talk vitamin A – olives, though modest in content, contribute to enhanced eyesight by nurturing essential retinal pigments crucial for low-light and color vision. The vigilant defense against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) further solidifies their significance.

Yet, the real marvel lies in olives’ antioxidant arsenal, featuring polyphenols and vitamin E, stalwart protectors against oxidative stress and inflammation – the adversaries in the realm of eye health. By neutralizing free radicals, they mitigate the risk of cellular damage and thwart various eye conditions.

10 Reasons to Eat Olives

Enter the subplot of fatty acids, with oleic acid taking center stage. Renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties, oleic acid emerges as a potential ally in combating conditions like “dry eye.”

Incorporating olives into your dietary repertoire, within the framework of a balanced and nutrient-rich approach, provides a natural avenue to fortify eye health. However, amidst the spotlight on olives, a prudent reminder echoes – a comprehensive eye care strategy encompasses a medley of nutrient-rich foods, routine eye check-ups, and lifestyle practices that advocate for holistic well-being. Olives may play a crucial role, but the symphony for optimal eye health requires a harmonious ensemble.

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Hi! I’m Alona, your expert in beauty and long-lasting vitality, especially when it pertains to hair health.

Feel free to connect with one of IdealofMeD’s specialists today! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions regarding our vitamins. We’re here to support on your journey to healthier, more vibrant hair!

Cancer Prevention​

Explore the olive’s potential in cancer prevention, with its antioxidants, like vitamin E and polyphenols, forming a robust defense against cellular damage. Olive oil, rich in oleic acid and phenolic compounds, further fortifies this defense, potentially regulating genes linked to cancer growth, particularly in breast cancer. Additionally, the monounsaturated fats in olives support digestive health, potentially reducing the risk of gastric tract cancers.

While olives aren’t a cure-all, they contribute to the broader Mediterranean diet’s holistic health benefits. Embrace this lifestyle for improved well-being, emphasizing nutrient-rich foods and mindful living

Reduces Inflammation

Olives contain oleocanthal, a natural compound that rivals ibuprofen in its ability to reduce inflammation. Regularly eating olives may provide relief from conditions like arthritis. Chronic inflammation, which can lead to autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and cancer, can be countered by targeting the arachidonic acid pathway. 

Maslinic acid, found in olive oil and table olives of the Mediterranean diet, shows promise in protecting against these diseases. Understanding how maslinic acid works is essential for harnessing its potential as a natural dietary supplement.

Aging, which involves oxidative stress and inflammation, prompts the search for anti-aging strategies. Hydroxytyrosol, obtained from the breakdown of oleuropein in olives, is known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cell death-promoting properties. 

Research is ongoing to explore hydroxytyrosol’s potential in new anti-aging approaches and its ability to protect against age-related diseases. Virgin olive oil, a staple of the Mediterranean Diet, provides a daily dose of hydroxytyrosol, showcasing its role in promoting a healthy Mediterranean lifestyle.

Cardiovascular Benefits

The monounsaturated fats found in olives play a pivotal role in promoting heart health by positively impacting cholesterol levels. These heart-friendly fats not only reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol but also elevate HDL (good) cholesterol, thereby mitigating the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Incorporating olives into your diet may prove beneficial for your heart and assist in maintaining optimal blood pressure.

Scientific studies indicate that replacing some carbohydrates with monounsaturated fats, akin to those in olives, can lead to increased levels of good cholesterol (HDL-c) and decreased levels of total cholesterol (TC) and bad cholesterol (LDL-c). This shift is crucial as it improves the ratio of good to total cholesterol. Moreover, swapping saturated fats (SFA) with monounsaturated fats not only lowers LDL-c levels but may also modestly lower or maintain HDL-c levels, contributing to a healthier cholesterol balance.

Exploring the domain of blood pressure, where high monounsaturated fat diets, especially those exceeding 12%, have demonstrated a positive impact in both normal and hypertensive individuals. In some instances, individuals on a diet rich in monounsaturated fats required less medication to control their blood pressure within just six months. Therefore, integrating olives into your diet as part of a balanced approach could be a noteworthy step toward nurturing a healthier heart and achieving better blood pressure regulation.

10 Reasons to Eat Olives

Source of Iron​

Olives, particularly black olives, emerge as a rich source of iron, boasting 6.28 mg per 100 grams. Including approximately 10-12 olives in your daily intake can play a significant role in maintaining healthy iron levels. Beyond just being a flavorful addition to meals, olives offer a practical and enjoyable way to meet your daily iron requirements.

The spotlight shifts to iron and copper, both abundantly present in olives. Understanding the interplay between these minerals becomes paramount, given their crucial roles in regulating overall iron and copper balance in the body. 

The presence of these essential minerals underscores the comprehensive nutritional value of olives, making them an outstanding choice for those seeking a delicious and well-rounded dietary solution to support overall health. Individuals dealing with copper or iron-deficient anemia should consider incorporating olives into their daily meals.

It’s crucial to emphasize that olives are not a standalone remedy for anemia or iron deficiency. Instead, their impact stems from the synergy of all components within this fruit, influencing not isolated processes but overall health.

Reduces Allergies

Quercetin, a natural antihistamine nestled in olives, proves to be a soothing balm for allergy sufferers by inhibiting histamine release. Regular consumption offers relief to those prone to allergic reactions. While onions are renowned for their quercetin content, they may not be the most snack-friendly option. Olives, on the other hand, present a delectable and convenient snack, rich in quercetin.

Beyond its antihistamine prowess, quercetin in olives plays a dual role. These versatile fruits not only alleviate allergy symptoms by curbing inflammation but also contribute to overall well-being. In addition to its allergy-relief properties, quercetin is recognized for mitigating the impact of substances that may pose a threat to liver health. 

The combination of allergy management, broader anti-inflammatory effects, and liver well-being makes olives a flavorful and health-conscious choice for individuals seeking holistic relief.

Good for Digestive Tract​

Indulging in olives, a revered member of the fermented foods league, bestows additional benefits upon your digestive system. The fermentation process introduces beneficial bacteria and enzymes, enriching your gut microbiome and bolstering digestive functions. 

This infusion of healthy microorganisms not only fortifies digestion but also holds the potential to enhance immune function. Research underscores olives’ prebiotic effects on the microbiota, fostering the production of short-chain fatty acids that contribute to improved gut health. 

Beyond this, olives flaunt potential antioxidant and antimicrobial activities, further enhancing their positive impact on the human gut. By seamlessly incorporating olives into your diet, you savor more than just their distinct flavor – you nurture a resilient and well-balanced digestive system.

Improves Skin and Hair Health

Incorporating olives into your diet can work wonders for skin and hair health, thanks to their robust nutritional profile. Bursting with monounsaturated fats and antioxidants like vitamin E and polyphenols, olives contribute to skin well-being by neutralizing free radicals, staving off premature aging, and imparting a radiant complexion.

The monounsaturated fats play a dual role, supporting skin elasticity and hydration. Simultaneously, antioxidants contribute to nourishing hair follicles, fostering overall hair health. Integrating olives into your diet as part of a balanced and nutrient-rich approach not only delights the taste buds but also serves as a delectable strategy to promote vibrant skin and lustrous hair.

Alona's Expert View

I frequently suggest incorporating olives into your diet, especially for those experiencing hair concerns. The nutrients and antioxidants found in olives can help create a healthier scalp environment and promote hair growth.

However, it’s crucial to remember that while olives offer many advantages, they work best as part of a comprehensive approach to hair care. This approach should include a balanced diet, adequate hydration, and a personalized hair care routine that meets your specific needs.

Increases Glutathione Levels​

The health-boosting prowess of olive phenolics takes center stage, notably impacting the elevation of glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione, a pivotal antioxidant, stands as a frontline defender, shielding cells from oxidative stress and fortifying the immune system. 

Phenolic compounds in olives, such as hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol, are implicated in stimulating glutathione production. This surge in glutathione levels amplifies the body’s capacity to counter oxidative damage, fostering overall well-being and fortifying defenses against various health challenges. 

By seamlessly integrating olives into your diet, you unlock the potential benefits of these phenolic compounds, creating an environment of heightened glutathione and reinforcing your body’s innate resilience.

10 Reasons To Eat Olives: Conclusion

With their impressive array of health benefits, olives emerge as a versatile and nutritious addition to any diet. From supporting weight loss to enhancing cardiovascular health and promoting radiant skin, these small fruits pack a big punch. Consider incorporating olives into your meals to savour both their distinctive flavour and the numerous advantages they offer for your well-being.

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Sources & expertise

We have used the following sources to compile this page: WebMD: Health Benefits of Olives

Information checked by an expert

Alona Arel
The information on this page is checked by Alona Arel. She’s an expert on beauty and longevity and often asked to share her knowledge. For example for Healthline and Lifehacker.

The information on this page was last updated on February 19, 2024

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