How Healthy Are Kalamata Olives?
Though olives are foreign fruits, they are much in use in India these days. You can spot the Mediterranean delicacy as pizza toppings or as a part of a healthy salad! Choosing the pizza or the salad is totally up to you 😛 Olives are welcome on the plate of a person who is a health freak as they are full of goodness.
We usually spot the regular green olives but there exist black olives called Kalamata olives. In fact they are fully ripened olives that are marinated in olive oil or vinegar. You can get them at select stores. They are not entirely black but just deep purple in colour. They are native to Greece and can be eaten plain or used to garnish a dish.
Kalamata olives are high in sodium but at the same time they contain healthy fats and a natural antioxidant.
Nutrition facts of kalamata olives
Kalamata olives are sold in cans. A 4 tbsp serving of Kalamata olives that roughly has 8 large olives or 10 small ones. They have 39 calories per serving, negligible protein, 3.6 g of total fat and 1.1 g of dietary fibre. Like other olives Kalamatas are rich sources of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin E. Kalamata olives provide magnesium, phosphorus and potassium along with B vitamins.
They are rich in monounsaturated fat
While Kalamata olives are high in fat, the majority of the fat is the ‘healthy’ monounsaturated fat. A 4 tbsp serving of Kalamata olives has 2.7 g of monounsaturated fats, and 0.3 g of polyunsaturated fats. The remaining is saturated fat and one serving of these olives has no cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats may help in lowering your cholesterol levels, thus reducing your chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. The Kalamata olives are healthy in comparison to trans fats.
Though Kalamata olives are generally healthy, they are high in sodium due to the preservation and canning process. One 4 tbsp serving of Kalamata olives has 247 mg of sodium. While it is just 11 to 16 percent of the recommended daily intake but the percentage is high when you consider its small serving size. A diet containing high sodium can increase your chances of suffering from high blood pressure and osteoporosis. You either need to limit the number of olives you consume or look around for low sodium Kalamata olives.
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory nature
Olives, just like olive oil have phenolic compounds that are known to be natural antioxidants. The distinctive taste of olives is due to the presence of phenolic compounds. As you are aware, phenolic compounds in olive oil being a strong antioxidant, protect the body from damage caused due to free radicals. They also protect the body from environmental toxins. The phenols might perhaps be the reason for lower occurrences of heart disease and certain cancers for people who are on a Mediterranean diet with loads of olive oil and olives. In a study conducted in 2011, it was concluded that one of the phenolic compounds of olive oil called oleocanthal has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists are of the opinion that consuming a diet comprising of olive oil and olives reduces the occurrence of chronic inflammation.
So, if you spot Kalamata olives, don’t hesitate from including them in your diet.
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