Is eating too many olives bad for you?

Is eating too many olives bad for you?

Olives are a tasty and versatile food that can be enjoyed in salads and pizzas as part of tapas spreads or eaten straight from the jar. But with their high-fat content, is eating too many olives bad for you?

The answer may surprise you. While olives contain healthy fats and offer some nutritional benefits, overindulging in them could lead to unwanted health consequences.

From weight gain to digestive issues to an increased risk of certain diseases, here's what you need to know about how eating too many olives could affect your health.

Table of Contents

What are olives?

Olives are a fruit of the Oleaceae family from Mediterranean Asia Minor. They possess an edible fleshy drupe with a hard, inedible seed within their core.

Olives are consumed either fresh or in the form of oil. However, before they can be eaten, they must undergo special treatment due to their bitter taste caused by oleuropein.

Without this preparation, olives would remain unpalatable and unappetizing. Therefore, to protect yourself, it is essential to fight the temptation and abstain from eating olives directly from the tree.

Is eating too many olives bad for you?

Eating olives is not bad for you. They are nutritious, offering between 120 and 280 calories per 100 grams. This depends on the type of olive you choose; however, most olives provide moderate caloric intake overall. Thus, when eaten as part of a balanced and diverse diet, these foods will not cause weight gain.

While there is a common misconception that olives are highly fattening, this isn't true! Even though they contain fats, these healthy and beneficial polyunsaturated fats offer many advantages. So don't let anyone fool you into believing otherwise - olives are good for you!

We understand that moderation is essential. However, research has shown us that consuming up to 7 olives daily can promote cardiovascular health and provide additional vitamins and iron.

Overview of Olives and their Nutritional Benefits

Olives are incredibly nutritious, containing 70% monounsaturated fatty acids, and 99% of these are oleic acids (Omega 9). This high concentration of beneficial fats is the source behind their various health-promoting features.

The Mediterranean diet, which includes extra virgin olive oil and nuts, has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%. This means that olive oil can help prevent heart disease. Olive oil also contains smaller amounts of Omega 3 and Omega 6.

By harvesting at the optimal time of ripeness, black olives boast an abundance of nutrients that promote overall health and well-being.

Olives are full of sodium but also have trace amounts of iron and calcium. However, it is the vitamins B & E that set olives as a superfood apart! Vitamin E guards our cells from oxidative damage, making it a valuable nutrient.

Not only does partaking in olives offer a delectable snacking experience, but it can also provide vital nutrients to your body!

Because the brine in which preserved olives produces a high sodium content, it's best for people with hypertension to limit their consumption.

It is also a source of vitamin A, which helps us to maintain a good state of tissues and sight. Its high fiber content makes it a satiating food that favors intestinal transit.

Olives are incredibly beneficial for our health, as they can help protect us from the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol) and their accumulation in our arteries. By doing so, olive consumption helps to prevent the hardening of arterial walls - ensuring optimal cardiovascular well-being!

Potential Health Risks of Eating Too Many Olives

Woman eating olives

As we have highlighted, olives can be high in sodium and should be consumed moderately by people with arterial hypertension.

To limit the sodium intake, it is best to rinse your olives in water and restrict yourself to 6-7 olives a day (25g). Doing so will ensure you remain healthy while indulging in this popular snack.

Different Types of Olives and Their Unique Flavors

Upon collection, olives have two potential paths: either to be processed as olive oil with different acidity levels or simply as table olives. Interestingly, some fruits can satisfy both categories!

There are wide varieties of green, brown, reddish, black, etc., depending on their color. The olives' degree of ripeness determines the colors the olive industry presents to us in the market.

While green olives are typically gathered before they reach peak ripeness, black olives require full maturity for harvesting. Therefore, green olives can generally be collected in September and October, whereas it takes a bit longer to harvest black olives.

Apart from the differences by color, you can choose from various types or varieties. Here's a list of some:

  • Hojiblanca: They are similar to Manzanilla, but their flesh is somewhat harder, and the color is greenish to black.
  • Arbequina: Light brown and fruity flavor is used as a table olive.
  • Gordal: These giant olives are characterized by a robust flavor.
  • Manzanilla: They are round and fleshy, with a soft consistency, small stone, and a typical flavor. They are smaller in size than the Gordals.
  • Arbosana: They are small, rounded, and green.
  • Blanqueta: Yellow to purple, with medium fat content. Their oil is characterized by being fluid and with a very fruity flavor.
  • Picual: They are the most prominent source of olive oil in Spain. They are small but with a deep, sweet, musky, and slightly spicy flavor.
  • Lechin: Low-fat content and difficult extractability. Its oil is fruity with a slight almond flavor.
  • Changlot real: They are of medium size, grouped in clusters. With medium fat content and an oil characterized by being very fruity.
  • Empeltre: Medium-sized fruit, easy release, high-fat content, and acceptable extractability.
  • Cornicabra: High-fat content and good extractability. Its oil has a fruity and fragrant flavor with mild green, bitter, and spicy connotations.

Final words

Remember not to overindulge when consuming olives, and keep track of your intake. Eating too many olives can lead to an excessive sodium intake, which can cause hypertension or other heart-related issues.

So, enjoy your daily dose of olives, but don't forget to savor them in moderation! Olives are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals that will provide you with the necessary nutrients for a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: does not provide medical advice, examination, or diagnosis.

Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue M D.