You must have seen black olives sprinkled on top of pizza or adding taste to sandwiches and colour to salad bowls. Well, the news is they are not only decorative and tasty, they carry immense benefits as well. Many of you must be aware of the key benefits of black olives already but we can assure you this article will add to their knowledge. Here we have tried our best to tell you every teeny tiny detail of this ancient food.
What Are Black Olives And Where They Came From?
Many may not know it but it is actually a fruit that grown on trees. Yes! you read that right! The tree known as Olea europaea has been a native to Mediterranean region and dates back to almost 3000 years ago. This is among the few fruits that has been mentioned in the Holy books of Muslims and Christians as well. For ancient civilisations, olive tree was a source of fuel, medicine as well as timber. Olives when they grow on the tree are green in colour and are often picked unripe. When they are allowed to ripen on the tree, they darken in colour and sometimes turn black. But not all of them are black by nature. After picking from the tree, they undergo processing that includes oxidization and fermentation. That often renders them black in colour. The processing is a must step as black olives cannot be eaten without that because right off the tree the have a bitter taste.
Olives belong to a fruit group known as “drupes” and are distant cousins to mangoes, peaches, cherries, almonds and pistachios.
Characterised as both snack and ingredient, olives have a rich salty taste and very chewy, smooth texture.
Nutrition Profile of Black Olives
After establishing the fact that black olives have a great history, it is now time to find out the reasons. Nutrition profile is one of the reasons, you will soon know why:
An average olive carries a weight of 3-5 grams and 3.5 ounces make one serving of them. Here is what you will get in one serving of ripe, canned olives:
- Total calories: 115
- Fat: 10.7 g
- Protein: 0.8g
- Carbohydrates: 6.3g
- Fibre: 3.2 g
- Water: 80%
- Sugar: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0g
- Sodium: 12% of DV
- Iron: 6.8mg
- Magnesium: 4mg
- Potassium: 8mg
In addition to these macronutrients and minerals, black olives are also rich in vitamins almost all of them.
Benefits of Black Olives
The benefits of black olives are too many to keep count. Calling olive, a gift of God won’t be wrong at all. Let’s dive into the world of olives for a little while and get to know them closely.
1. Cardiovascular Benefits
Black olives impart great cardiovascular benefits to our health. Being rich in antioxidants, black olives save our blood vessels from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals which in return saves from heart disease. Olives contain two types of fats:
- Saturated fats
- Monounsaturated fats
Monounsaturated fats are in abundant as compared to saturated fats. Ripe olives provide as much as 8 grams of MUFs. As per American Heart Association, diet rich in these fats saves you from the risk of heart disease as they tend to decrease bad cholesterol in the blood. Oleic acid which is the main fatty acid present in the black olives has been linked with better heart health. It also regulates the cholesterol levels in the blood while protecting LDLs from oxidation
2. Prevention of Cancer
90% of the Mediterranean diet is based on olives and it is a surprising fact that incidence of cancer and chronic diseases is less in those countries as compared to western countries. The anti-cancer effect can be due to the high amount of anti-oxidants as well as oleic acid present in them.
Moreover, black olives are rich in Vitamin E which have this superpower to neutralize the effect of free radicals in the body. Vitamin E together with oleic acid offer a protective role to the cellular process happening in the body mainly mitochondrion function. Studies have proved that diet rich in olives reduces the risk of cancer to a great deal.
3. Improved Bone Health
Osteoporosis is a leading bone disorder around the globe. But surprisingly the rates are lower in Mediterranean region. There has been a speculation that olives had a role in this as Mediterranean diet is all about olives and olive oil. It was found that olives contain few plant compounds that have a role in preventing bone loss. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory capability of MUFs, polyphenols and vitamin E all combine together and protects against osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Natural Painkiller
Olive oil contains a chemical compound named as “oleocanthal” which inhibits inflammation in the same way as the famous painkiller drug Ibuprofen does. That’s why olive oil is often applied for muscle and bones pain. Calling it a natural painkiller won’t be wrong at all.
5. Improved Digestive Health
The MUFs and Vitamin E in black olives have been linked lower incidence of colon cancer. Incorporating olive oil in diets protects against gastric ulcers and gastritis. Black olives are rich in fibre that improves digestive health.
6. Rich in Iron
Black olives contain a bounty of iron. Iron is quintessential for our body functions like production of energy. Moreover, it is an important part of cells and enzymes. Our immune system is also dependent on adequate amount of iron in the body. Blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body and require iron to perform the function. So, if you want to keep your iron levels in check, black olives are a great option.
Are There Any Side-Effects To Black Olives?
There are no serious side effects to black olives. Black olives have an ability to reduce blood pressure so people with low blood pressure numbers already may face some consequences. Likewise, strong olives may lead to diarrhoea as well.
A little bit of everything would make the whole. Adding fruits like black olives in moderation to your diet will be really beneficial to your health. So, what are you waiting for?