Olives picking

Table olves are healthy and nutritious food

Nutritional qualities of table olives:

  • Lipids: Healthy fat ratio.
  • Carbohydrates: Low content.
  • Proteins: Low content, rich in all essential amino acids.
  • Fibre: Source of healthy fibre (recommended for a healthy digestive process and prevention of colon cancer).
  • Vitamins: Rich in vitamins A and E (important compounds for protective anti oxidant processes in the human body).
  • Minerals: Sodium (recommended for people who do a lot of physical efforts), Calcium (similar content to that of milk), Iron and Magnesium (which avoids formation of kidney stones and helps the action of glands enzymes and white blood cells).
  • Poliphenols: Important source of poliphenols.

Table olives contain all of the healthy elements of olive oil, which derives from olives.

Experts recommend consuming around 25grammes of olives a day (around 7 olives a day), equivalent to half a ration of fat (one ration of fat = 1 spoonful of olive oil).

Nutritional chart
Instituto de la Grasa de Sevilla. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.
Valores de Etiquetado Nutricional. 2006

Olives in the mediterranean diet

Nutritional piramid

The Mediterranean diet hinges mainly on characteristics such as a base of vegetable products, bread and other cereals, olive oil as the main source of fat and a regular moderate consumption of wine. The beneficial qualities it is awarded is the fact that in countries which follow this diet incidence of cardiovascular disease is much lower due to a higher consumption of food rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, among others.

Table olives are an essential part of the Mediterranean diet, as well as the origin of olive oil and the heart of Mediterranean cultural and gastronomic heritage.

Olives and Sport

From a nutritional point of view, they provide energy for 150Kcal/100g depending on the variety. These calories are mainly found in their fat, which is 82% monounsaturated. Furthermore, they help cover the recommended daily amount of fibre, they are a source of oleic acid as well as carbohydrates and proteins. Olives also contain minerals like sodium and iron, calcium and magnesium, especially important for athletes in relation to muscular contraction and nervous impulse.

Furthermore, one of the main nutrients to be found in table olives are poliphenols and provitamins A and E, whose antioxidising qualities actively defends the body from oxidising processes which arise in sport activities, and affect performance in competitions as much as recovery time.

In order to reap their benefits completely, nutritionists recommend accompanying them with water or fruit juice before or after sport activities.


Olives improve muscle health

Aware of this fact, in 2011 Dutch laboratories patented an olive extract which integrates hidroxitirosol (anti-oxidising), which promotes muscular health of people who are prone to muscular injuries and aches which derive from sport activities. This invention also enables them to protect their muscles during prolonged efforts, accelerate recovery from injuries and reduce pain.

This product is also applicable to animals who exert intensely, for work or competitive purposes, such as for example dogs, horses or camels.

In the patent description, the scientists underline the fact that their olive extract protects muscles in at least two ways which are not directly associated with already-known anti-oxidising properties of hidroxitirosol extracted from olives: firstly because it diminishes the amount of lactic acid which accumulates in muscular tissues and blood during physical exercise, enabling more prolonged efforts as well as minimising aches and pains during recovery. Secondly, the olive extract enhances glutathione levels in muscles associated with exercise, improving the body’s anti-oxidising ability to keep healthy and fit.

Furthermore, the ingestion of this new extract has been proven to be effective in preventing pain and muscle injuries before, during and after physical activities.

Olives prevent many illnesses

Olives prevent cancer

Many studies have confirmed it. To quote only some of them, BioMasliniv industry already produces an acid which is naturally found in olive skin wax and has anti-cancer and anti-viral qualities, inhibiting HIV, and acting as an anti ageing factor. The product, called maslinic acid has been experimented on animals and people for years, thanks to a leading project which was started in the Granada University labs and developed in the Parque Tecnológico de Ciencias de la Salud (PTS) (Technological centre for science and health). According to its creators, this product “will be a revolution in healthcare” although its medical applications have not yet been decided. In fact it is now being experimented as a vaccine for malaria “with high expectations”.

The University of Jaen is also investigating the same aspects and qualities of olive oil skin to ascertain that it effectively protects from breast cancer. The research has been published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, edited by the American Chemical Society, which boasts the highest number of international scientific quotes regarding Food Science and Technologies.

Healthy diet

Olives contain antimicrobial substances

Olives and food which derives from them, olive oil and table olives, contain substances which bear high and scientifically proven antimicrobial activity. Investigators from the Instituto de la Grasa (CSIC) (Fat Institute) expect these agents to be used in different areas such as health and agriculture, thanks to the Estudio excellence project and applications of these antimicrobial qualities to be found in table olives and olive oil.

From ancient times the antimicrobial qualities of this liquid gold, as well as those of olive leaf and fruit extracts have been well known and used for centuries in popular medicine. Furthermore, many scientific studies have been carried out on the anti-bacterial qualities of olive milling by-liquids, and, to a lesser extent, brine for table olives. However, there are few studies regarding the antimicrobial qualities of olives themselves.

The first studies on antimicrobial compounds in products obtained from olives started with table olive fermentation brine baths. A phenol called oleuropein which is mainly present in olive pulp, and the products of its hydrolysis were ultimately deemed responsible for the above mentioned antimicrobial qualities of olives.

Olives are probiotic

The first results of the Probiolives Project point out the fact that eating table olives strengthens your natural defences. According to this research, they could well be the most important probiotic fermented vegetable product of future markets. The most recent data provided by researchers in the Probiolives Project indicate that some of the lactic bacteria which are generated in the fermentation of table olives give better results than other ones which are already recognised as probiotic microorganisms and are currently used in some lactic products.