Compared to other fruits, olives are relatively low-carb but they do contain some. They are considered healthy snacks but do have their drawbacks.
Olives are the fruit of an olive tree and are closely related to mangos, cherries, and pistachios. They are commonly found in Mediterranean cuisine as both a fruit and an oil.
In this article, we cover how many carbs are in olives, and what other nutrients are in them. We also discuss the most popular form that olives come in, olive oil.
In 100 grams of marinated green olives, there are around 146 calories. They are about 75% water so are also good sources of hydration.
Olives are considered to be a low-carb fruit because in 100 grams there are only about 3.84 grams of total carbs. Of which 3.3 grams are dietary fiber and 0.54 grams are sugar.
About three-quarters of the 15.32 grams of fat in 100 grams of olives are monounsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fatty acids are considered to be heart-healthy fats since they can lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Marinated olives only have around 1.03 grams of protein, So if you are following a meat-free diet then you will need to look elsewhere for sources of protein.
Olives are a fantastic source of vitamin E, with 100 grams of olives giving you 25% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin E.
Vitamin E is important for cognitive performance and helps to protect the brain. It is also a powerful antioxidant and can help to reduce the markers of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a condition that can lead to cell damage.
Olives are also a good source of calcium, having 5% of the daily recommended amount in 100 grams. Calcium is needed to build and maintain healthy bones and teeth. It is mainly found in dairy products.
While olives are good sources of vitamin E and calcium, they are extremely high in sodium. A 100-gram portion of marinated green olives will take up all of your recommended daily sodium intake and a little bit extra.
This is mainly due to the way they are processed since olives need to be fermented in order to remove the bitterness from them. They are cured in a lye, brine, or salt mixture.
The lye process is more common for cheaper olives since it only takes a few days to do, whereas the brine and salt could take a couple of months.
During the lye-curing process, most of the nutrients are extracted from the olives. It is a better option to go for the brine-cured olives as they have a better nutritional value.
Olive oil is considered to be one of the healthiest oils. It is made by pressing olives and extracting the oil from them. This process doesn’t require industrial processing like other oils so has been made for thousands of years.
It is commonly used in cooking as a way to evenly cook food. It is a good option for a keto diet as it is very versatile and can provide the necessary fats.
Olive oil doesn’t have a strong olive taste, so it is used in cooking even by those who don’t enjoy olives.
As well as food, olive oil has also been used in pharmaceuticals, soaps, make-up, and is commonly used for fuel in oil lamps.
Olive oil has many antioxidant properties when it hasn’t been cooked, which is why it is used in cosmetic products.
When consumed, olive oil is known to help with heart health due to the healthy fatty acids in it, this in turn can lead to healthy bones. Some studies have also shown that olive oil may have cancer-preventing properties.
It is rare but possible to be allergic to olives. People with extreme allergies to olives can also be allergic to olive oil.
It is far more common for people to have allergic reactions to the olive tree. Since olive trees are blossoming, they produce a large amount of pollen.
Even the varieties that are boasted as an ‘allergy free’ tree still blossom and affect allergies.
Types Of Olives
While 90% of olives are turned into oil, 10% are consumed as table olives and are sold in jars or cans.
There are many different types of olives, usually differentiated as green and black varieties. The black varieties are green at first and then turn black as they mature.
The most popular olive types include:
- Kalamata – A deep purple olive from Greece. They are usually preserved in red wine vinegar, red wine, or olive oil.
- Manzanilla – A green olive from Spain. These are commonly stuffed with pimientos and are brine-cured.
- Castelvetrano – A green olive from Italy. They are a sweet snack olive and have been described as having an almost ‘buttery’ flavor.
- Niçoise – A black olive from France. It is used in a lot of French cuisine like tapenade and has a floral taste.
- Picholine – A green olive from France. They have a tart taste and will turn black as they ripen. The green variety is usually eaten as table olives whereas the black is made into oil.
- Beldi – A wrinkly black olive from Morocco. They are harvested when very ripe so have quite an intense flavor. They are mainly dry-cured in the sun.
There are many ways that olives can be consumed, this includes as a snack, as a cooking ingredient, and as a garnish. They commonly appear in savory dishes like pizza and pasta.
Table olives are usually stuffed with pimientos, a type of sweet pepper that is bright red in color.
Due to their low amount of carbs, olives are boasted as one of the few fruits you can enjoy while on a keto diet. However, due to their high sodium content, they should be consumed in moderation.