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Calories In Olives

Olives are an essential part of Mediterranean cuisine. Greece, Italy, Spain and France are the major producers and consumers of olives and olive oil in Europe, besides being exporters of olive and olive products. These fruits of the olive tree are green when they are unripe and black when they ripen, though there are varieties which remain green or black, regardless of their ripeness. Once plucked, olives are processed or cured in oil, water, brine or lye and the nutrient content, color and the calories in olives vary with the method of curing used. Kalamata olives have traditionally been dry cured with salt, and red wine vinegar is used to impart that typical flavor to the cured olives.

Curing olives helps to offset the bitter taste of the fruit. Having a minimum amount of calories in olives makes it a much preferred in between snack mostly consumed with wine or alcohol. Nutrients in olives include heart healthy monounsaturated fats, copper, iron, sodium and dietary fiber, besides a wide selection of phytonutrients, which are antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Calories In A Can Of Olives

Olives are eaten as snacks or used to garnish drinks. Canned olives are chopped and used in pizzas or tossed in salads. A 100 gm serving of canned ripe black olives has 115 calories, while calories in a can of olives that are green can provide up to 145 calories for the same 100 gm serving. Before you open a can of olives and start popping them into your mouth, understand the nutrient content in one can of olives. Up to 80% of the calories in olives come from fats, and the salt used to preserve the olives can mean that you ingest a lot of sodium too, when you eat the olives. The trade off is that you get a healthy monounsaturated fat that helps lower the risk of heart disease. The high levels of various phytonutrients in olives benefit the body and help to reduce inflammation.

Calories In 100g Of Olives

Apart from being used in salads, pastas and pizzas, olives are also used to make an olive tapenade, which can be used as a spread for sandwiches or a dip to go with crisp vegetables or chips. A dollop of the tapenade on a braised fish or bruschetta with goat cheese, adds the zesty taste of olives to the dish. Nutrient facts in 100 g olives include small amounts of protein and carbohydrates which contribute to about 12% of the total calorie value. Green olives stuffed with almonds contain more protein and fats and are higher in caloric value than green olives stuffed with garlic or jalapeno peppers. Cheese stuffed olives served as an appetizer are evidently higher in calories and in fat content than a bowl of pimento stuffed olives marinated in herbs.

Calories In Black Olives

A 100 gm serving of green olives contains 145 calories while calories in black olives for a serving of the same size are only about 105. Black olives also contain less salt and more iron than green olives. Many people prefer black olives because they have a fruity flavor and are softer and fleshier than green olives, which tend to be firmer. The variety of stuffing used in green olives makes them more nutritious and increase their caloric value. Black olives are more suitable for use in cooking while green olives are usually preferred for use as snacks or in salads.

Side Effects Of Olives

For those who prefer the salty sour taste of olives, green olives are an ideal choice. However, one of the side effects of olives, particularly green olives, is that it can lead to high levels of sodium in the system and contribute to increasing blood pressure. Those with high blood pressure should take care to eat olives in moderation. On the positive side, eating olives regularly, in moderation can bring about a favorable change in the ratio of LDL and HDL cholesterol in the blood. Antioxidant phytonutrients in olives help to protect the cells in the body against damage due to oxidation and also inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells.

Tips On Olive Intake

In order to balance the goodness of olives and the resultant high levels of sodium when you eat too many pickled olives, it is advised that you consume them in moderation. The recommended quantity of olive intake per day is limited to 25 gms or roughly 7 olives a day. For those who wonder when to consume olives, there is no ideal time of the day to eat olives, they can be eaten as a snack, in a salad at lunch or swirled in a glass of martini before dinner and popped into the mouth. Healthy ways to consume olives would be to chop them up and toss them in a salad or make a tapenade with olive oil and garlic to use as a sandwich spread. The quality of olives does not depend on their size, color or method of curing. Textures can vary from wrinkled or cracked to shiny, depending on the method of curing and preserving used. So long as the olives are firm and not mushy and the flavor is not ‘off’, you can select any type of olive to use. Storage tips for cans or jars of olives which have been opened and partly used include transferring the remaining contents with the liquid into an airtight container and refrigerating it for use within the next couple of weeks. Glass jars of olives can be stored as they are in the fridge for up to a month.

Submitted on January 16, 2014