6 Health Benefits Of Kalamata Olives You Must Know

Written by Aparna Mallampalli , BEd (Biological Sciences), MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition

Kalamata is the most popular variety of olives and is known for its unique taste. These olives are named after a city (Kalamata in Greece) where they were first grown. They have a meaty texture and taste a little sweetish. However, they also have a slightly bitter taste like other olives. Their rich nutritional profile and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have made them popular for their health benefits.

What health benefits do these olives offer? In this article, we bring you a list of their health benefits, their nutritional profile, and the ways you can add them to your diet. Keep reading.

What Is Kalamata Olive?

Kalamata olives are generally compared with black olives but differ in size, taste, and texture. These olives are usually cured with brine, which gives them a soft texture and a unique flavor. These are loaded with nutrients and are believed to help manage many health conditions.

What nutrients do Kalamata olives offer? We explore their nutritional profile in the following section.

Nutritional Profile Of Kalamata Olives

100 grams of Kalamata olives contain (1):

  • Calories: 300
  • Fat: 30g
  • Carbohydrates:  6.67g
  • Dietary Fiber: 6.7g
  • Sodium: 1.26g
  • Potassium: 0.13g

These essential nutrients in Kalamata olives offer many health benefits. We discuss the same in the next section.

Health Benefits Of Kalamata Olives

1. May Promote Skin Health

Olives have been an integral part of many skin care regimes for the visible benefits they offer. Oleuropein, a phenolic component in olives, is found to protect the skin from chronic UVB-induced damage. It also acts as a free radical scavenger (2). Therefore, including Kalamata olives in your diet may improve your skin health.

2. May Reduce The Risk Of Cancer

Kalamata olives are rich in polyphenols, antioxidants, and flavonoid compounds. These compounds shield the cells and cell membranes from free radical or external damage and potentially reduce cancer risk. Besides, the oleuropein in these olives may also hinder the viability of cancer cells (2), (3).

3. May Promote Cardiovascular Health

The oleuropein in Kalamata olives has been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Studies suggest that it may protect against acute adriamycin cardiotoxicity (damage to the heart muscle). It was also found to inhibit the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol (2),(3).

4. May Aid In Weight loss

Olives have powerful antioxidants and help maintain HDL cholesterol levels. Olive intake may also inhibit LDL development. These factors may hinder unwanted weight gain (3). However, more concrete research is warranted to understand how Kalamata olives may help with weight loss in humans.

5. May Help Manage Diabetes

The glycemic index of Kalamata olives is low (they digest very slowly), and they prevent the sudden release of sugars into the blood. One Kalamata olive (4 grams) provides 1 to 3 mg of hydroxytyrosol (a phenolic compound) (4). Hydroxytyrosol has insulin-like effects and had shown significant anti-diabetic properties in animal models of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, it has protective effects against oxidative stress, inflammation, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), and hyperlipidemia (high fat levels in blood).

Besides, the European Food Safety Authority has approved the use of hydroxytyrosol (5 mg/day) to prevent oxidative damage and inflammation, reducing the risk of insulin resistance/diabetes (5). However, more quality research is warranted to understand the role of Kalamata olives in diabetes control.

6. May Combat Inflammation

The antioxidant compounds in olives effectively combat free radicals. This helps prevent harmful oxidative damage to cells and effectively combat inflammation. These anti-inflammatory properties can be attributed to the polyphenol content in olives (6). However, olive oil is more clearly studied for this benefit than olives directly. So, detailed research on the consumption of Kalamata olives and their role in combating inflammation is warranted.

These benefits of Kalamata olives are far-reaching. But, what makes these olives one of the healthiest foods to consume? Let’s explore the reasons in the following section.

Why Are Kalamata Olives Among The Healthiest Foods We Know?

Kalamata olives have special nutritional benefits compared with other olives. These olives are a good source of fiber and vitamins A, C, B, E, and K, and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. Besides, most of their fat content is monounsaturated (healthy fat). Four tablespoons of Kalamata olives contain 2.7 grams of monounsaturated fat and 0.3 grams of polyunsaturated fat. These olives also contain natural antioxidant polyphenols.

Adding Kalamata olives to your daily diet can offer you several health benefits. Here are a few easy ways to do it.

How To Add Kalamata Olives To Your Diet?

  • Use as a topping on salads or soups.
  • Serve as an appetizer with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add to sandwiches to enhance the flavor.
  • Eat with bread, pita bread, and pasta to enhance the taste.
  • Use as a spread on bread by blending olives into a fine paste with vinegar and a pinch of salt.

These are some of the easiest ways to add Kalamata olives to your diet. But you have to follow certain safety precautions before consuming them. We discuss them in the following section.

Precautions To Be Considered Before Taking Kalamata Olives

You cannot eat raw or unprocessed Kalamata olives because of their sourness/bitterness. They undergo a curing process to alter their taste. They are dipped in brine or saltwater, which increases their sodium content. Taking them in excess may elevate your body’s sodium levels.

Mary Wirtz, RD, says, “Kalamata olives are calorie-dense. Therefore, if you watch your calorie intake, weight, or sodium intake, do not overdo these olives. Typically for most individuals, half a serving is enough to add flavor to any dish.”

Takeaway

Kalamata olives are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, which help promote overall health. Consuming them may help improve skin health, reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, help manage diabetes, and combat inflammation. However, consume them in moderation to reap their benefits. Follow the above-mentioned tips to include them in your diet.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Are Kalamata olives and black olives the same?

Kalamata and black olives look the same but different in origin, shape, size, taste, texture, and nutritional profile.

Are Kalamata olives healthier than black olives?

Kalamata olives may be a healthier choice than black olives because of their higher antioxidant and polyphenol content.

What sets Kalamata olives apart?

The presence of vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, polyphenols, and many other beneficial nutrients set Kalamata olives apart from regular olives.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. KALAMATA OLIVES PITTED
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/589246/nutrients
  2. Oleuropein in Olive and its Pharmacological Effects
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3002804/
  3. Olive oil and prevention of chronic diseases: Summary of an International conference
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0939475318301261
  4. Food Processing and the Mediterranean Diet
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4586566/
  5. Antidiabetic Effects of Hydroxytyrosol: In Vitro and In Vivo Evidence
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6616959/
  6. The Protective Effects of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on Immune-mediated Inflammatory Responses
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29141575/

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