One of the oldest foods, olives are grown on the tree, Oleo europaea, and originated in Crete more than five thousand years back. They were brought to America by the Spanish and Portuguese during the 15th and 16th century. Although they are available all year round and used as toppings for salads and pizzas, they are primarily harvested in September. They can be picked when unripe and green. However, when they are allowed to ripen on the tree, they take on a black color. These ripe black olives are considered to be more nutritious and healthy than their green counterparts. Here is a brief look at the health benefits and nutritional value of black olives.
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Health benefits of black olives
Calories and carbohydrates - Black olives are quite low in calories. One ounce of black olives contains around 32 calories, and around 25 of these calories are from the fats present in the fruits. They are also low in carbohydrates and contain only 2g in a one ounce serving.
Fats - One ounce of black olives contains 3g of total fats, which represents around 5% of the percent daily value of a 2000-calorie daily diet. They contain only 0.4g of saturated fats, while the balance is all good fats. Lowering of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) is one of the health benefits of black olives, which helps protect against heart disease. This comes partly from the 2.2g of monounsaturated fats present in the ripe fruit.
Furthermore, since monounsaturated fats are not destroyed easily, they are quickly absorbed into the outer membranes of the cells and other cell structures containing fat. This has a protective effect on the cells. Another good fat is polyunsaturated fat, and black olives contain around 0.3g of this fat. Besides this, the 0.018 g of omega-3 and 0.24 g of omega-6 fatty acids present are also beneficial for the health of the heart.
Vitamins - Some of the other health benefits of black olives come from vitamin E. The antioxidant properties of this vitamin, when combined with the protective effects of monounsaturated fats, protect the cells against free radical damage and reduce the risk of inflammation. By protecting against free radical damage, black olives offer protection against the oxidation of cholesterol, which can damage blood vessels and build up in arteries. This way it reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Free radicals can also cause damage to the cellular DNA, which can lead to the growth of cancerous cells. This means that by protecting against free radicals damage, black olives also help prevent cancers, especially of the colon.
It has also been found that the vitamin E in black olives helps reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes in women going through menopause.
One ounce of this ripened fruit contains around 0.5mg of vitamin E, which is around 2% of the percent daily value. Black olives also contain around 113 IU of vitamin A, which is considered to be good for your vision.
Phytonutrients - Phytonutrients, including polyphenols and flavonoids, are also responsible for the health benefits of black olives. Along with monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, these compounds have anti-inflammatory properties. This means that they reduce the severity of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and asthma.
Dietary fiber and minerals - Black olives are a good source of dietary fiber and one ounce contains around 0.9g, which is around 4% of the percent daily value for a 2000-calorie daily diet. The ripe fruit is also a rich source of minerals such as iron, copper, and calcium. It contains 0.1mg of copper, 0.9mg of iron, and 24.6mg of calcium. However, it is also high in sodium, and if you are controlling your salt intake, you should be aware that one ounce of this fruit will give you around 10% of the percent daily value.
As you can see, the nutritional value of black olives offers some amazing benefits for you. The health benefits of black olives include protection against heart disease, cancers, asthma, and arthritis. So, next time don’t just think of black olives as a topping on your pizza, but rather as a fruit that offers a multitude of nutritional benefits for your health.
World’s Healthiest Foods: Olives
Self Nutrition Data: Olives, ripe, canned (small-extra large)
AllExperts.com: Nutritional value of black olives
Recipeland.com: Black olives