Olives: 10 Health Benefits, Nutritional Info & Recipes

Olives are a fruit that can offer several health benefits like increasing HDL cholesterol, maintaining eye health, regulating bowl movements and preventing premature aging.

These benefits are possible because olives are rich in healthy fats, fiber, lutein, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, which are nutrients and bioactive compounds that contain naturally laxative, satietogenic, lipid-lowering and antioxidant effects.

There are 3 main olive variations, green, purple and black, which differ in terms of ripening time. Green olives are less ripe, and have a more bitter taste and a higher carotenoid content than purple and black olives. Olives can be consumed alone or added to recipes for sauces, dips, pies and breads.

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Health benefits

The main health benefits of olives are:

1. Increasing LDL cholesterol

Olives contain vitamin E, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and carotenoids that contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Therefore, they can help to increase levels of "good" cholesterol, or HDL, in the blood. 

2. Maintaining eye health

Olives help to maintain eye health, because they contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These are carotenoids with antioxidant properties that protect the eyes from damage caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun and blue light emitted by computers and cell phones. They can help to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

3. Regulating bowel movements

Because they are high in fiber, olives can increase stool volume and stimulate natural bowel movements. They can be consumed to regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation.

Also recommended: 10 Best Laxative Foods for Constipation (with Meal Plan) tuasaude.com/en/laxative-foods

4. Preventing cardiovascular disease

Olives are high in flavonoids with antioxidant action, like luteolin, apigenin and anthocyanins. For this reason, they can promote healthy arteries and improve blood circulation, which can prevent the emergence of cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and heart attacks.

5. Improving memory and cognition

Olives contain vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin, which can improve memory, learning and cognition. These compounds promote healthy neurons and protect them fro damage caused by free radicals.

6. Strengthening immunity

Olives strengthen the immune system by fighting free radicals that can interfere with the body's response to viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.

7. Promoting weight loss

Olives can help you to lose weight, as this fruit is high fiber and healthy fats. They can increase digestion time, keep you full and help to control hunger throughout the day.

However, to promote weight loss, olives should be included in a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.

Also recommended: Weight Loss Diet: Best Foods to Eat, Avoid & Meal Plan tuasaude.com/en/weight-loss-diet

8. Preventing the onset of cancer

Because it is rich in compounds with antioxidant action, like lutein, zeaxanthin, flavonoids and beta-carotene, olives can help prevent the emergence of some types of cancer, such as lung, skin and prostate cancer. These compounds can prevent damage that free radicals can cause to healthy cells.

9. Preventing anemia

Olives, particularly black olives, help to prevent anemia as they are high in iron. Iron is essential for the formation of hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to the entire body. Check-out other high iron foods that you can consume to help prevent and treat anemia.

10. Preventing premature aging

Olives contain bioactive compounds and antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin A. These components can combat free radicals and promote skin health, preventing premature aging and the appearance of wrinkles and sagging.

Do olives cause weight gain?

Olives are high in calories, and can therefore lead to weight gain when consumed in large quantities or used in other high-calorie recipes. Furthermore, olives can also lead to weight gain when included in an unbalanced diet, and consumed with a sedentary lifestyle.

However, when consumed in moderation and included in a healthy, active lifestyle, olives do not lead to weight gain.

Natural properties

Olives are rich in nutrients and bioactive compounds, such as healthy fats, fiber, vitamin A, lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids and iron. Olives have laxative, satietogenic, lipid-lowering and antioxidant properties.

Nutritional information 

The following table provides nutritional information on 100 g of preserved green and black olives:


Canned green olives (100 g)

Canned black olives (100 g)


145 calories

116 calories


1.03 g

0.84 g


3.84 g

6.04 g

Total fat

15.3 g

10.9 g

Saturated fat

2.03 g

2.28 g

Monounsaturated fat

11.3 g

7.65 g

Polyunsaturated fat

1.31 g

0.63 g


3.3 g

1.6 g


1560 mg

735 mg

Iron 0,.9 mg 6.28 mg
Vitamin A 20 mcg --
Luthein + zeaxanthin 510 mcg 510 mcg
Betacarotene 231 mcg 198 mcg
Vitamin E 3.81 mg 1.65 mg

To obtain all the benefits that olives have to offer, this food should be included in a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.

How to eat

Olives can be consumed on their own as a snack, or added to recipes for pies, salads, dish, dressings, dips, breads, sandwiches and risottos.

The maximum recommended intake is a handful, or 1/4 cup of olives per day.

Are olives bad for you?

When consumed in excess, olives can be harmful, especially for people with kidney problems or high blood pressure. This is because canned, preserved olives are typically high in sodium, as the natural fruit is very bitter and difficult to consume.

Healthy olive recipes

Some healthy recipes with olives are dip, dressings and salad.

1. Olive dip


  • 100 g pitted and sliced ​​black olives
  • 300g ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped into cubes
  • Basil or parsley to taste


Break up the ricotta with your hands or a fork and place in a container. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well with a spoon. This dip can be served with bread or toast.

2. Caprese salad


  • 1 handful of arugula
  • 1 handful of lettuce
  • 100 g of tomato
  • 100 g of white cheese
  • Basil leaves, as desired
  • Salt and black pepper, as desired
  • 20 g of black olives
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil


Wash the vegetables and tomatoes well and dry. Cut the arugula and lettuce leaves with your hands and place in a bowl. Cut the tomatoes and cheese into cubes and mix with the vegetables. Season the salad by mixing the basil leaves, salt, pepper, olives, lemon juice and olive oil, and serve immediately.

3. Olive and basil dressing


  • 7 pitted green olives
  • 2 sprigs of basil
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil


Chop the olives and basil and place in a small container. Add the vinegar and olive oil, mixing well, let it rest for 10 minutes and then serve.