Whether you love black olives, Greek-style olives, Kalamata-style olives, or Spanish-style olives, one thing is for certain, olives offer a lot of health benefits. Olives have been known for their high fat content, but 80-85% of the calories in olives provide almost three-quarters of their fat as oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. It has been shown that when people increased their diets from low levels of monounsaturated fats to diets higher in monounsaturated fats, there was a decrease in blood levels of LDL cholesterol. It’s also been shown that monounsaturated fats found in olives can help to decrease blood pressure. And with their very high concentration of phytonutrients, olives have been shown to benefit the cardiovascular, digestive, immune, inflammatory, musculoskeletal, nervous, and respiratory systems. Go olives! Olives are a very good source of copper and a good source of fiber, iron, and vitamin E.
Need some inspiration with how to eat more olives? Olive tapenade. Whole wheat pasta with olives. Marinated olives. Salad nicoise. Olives on a crudité platter. Whole wheat veggie pizza that includes olives.
Did you know it’s easy to make your own marinated olives at home? Here’s a recipe.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 large bay leaves
- 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- Strips of lemon rind from 1 lemon
- ¾ pound of imported olives, with pits (black, green, or a mix)
In a small saucepan set over low heat, combine olive oil, vinegar, bay leaves, and garlic; heat until just warm. Remove from heat and stir in the rosemary, thyme, fennel, and lemon rind. Place olives in a wide-mouthed jar with lid. Pour the olive oil mixture into the jar. Screw lid onto the jar, and turn the jar so that the olive oil mixture coats the olives. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 weeks. Turn the jar a few times daily. MAKES 2 CUPS