Can Olives Help You Lose Weight?

Olive oil is a healthy cooking fat and part of the Mediterranean diet. The diet is known to be good for the heart and overall health. But, what about the fruit it comes from?

Olives are a love ‘em or hate ‘em fruit for many of us. Some people love them on pizza, in salads, in sandwiches. Others don’t even like the smell. They are versatile, some varieties are saltier, tangier or blander than others, and their textures vary wildly. They come jarred, canned, mixed in spreads and in the salad bar. Today, we want to look at their health benefits outside of being olive oil.

People may be surprised to find out that they have a very low calorie density. Despite their high fat content, relative to their weight, they are extremely low in calories. A calorie density of four or higher is considered high, olives have a calorie density of one to 1.5. In addition to having a low calorie density, they also have a low GI number

While olives are high in fat, it’s monosaturated fat, also known as healthy fat. The type of fat is linked to weight loss, a lower body mass index and smaller waist circumference. One study found that eating 10 olives before a meal can reduce appetite by 22 percent. Additionally, olives are high in antioxidants that may help prevent cancer.

Olives contain compounds that aid the production of nitric oxide, which aids the nervous system. The compound improves blood flow, aids endurance and lowers inflammation. These benefits all increase your ability to your body’s ability to burn calories and workout more efficiently.  

On the negative side, most olives are high in salt, and green olives are higher in sodium than black. And, olives are very moreish. It’s easy if you enjoy olives, to mindlessly eat them. Their textures and saltiness make them pleasurable, and their small size makes them easy to “pop.”

Unlike many vegetables, olives should be enjoyed in moderation. While they are low in calories, they can add up. When you want to enjoy olives as part of a weight-loss diet, you should avoid the saltier types and ones packed in brine. The high amounts of sodium are not only detrimental to health but can also add to water weight.  

Olives can be a fantastic part of a healthy diet while you are aiming to lose weight. They aid overall health on top of heart health and weight loss. But, many adults don’t like olives. They do pack a lot of flavor and can be overwhelming if you aren’t used to them. If it’s been a long time since you ate them, try them again. They might surprise you. Flavor preferences change over time, so you may find you enjoy them!
August 17, 2020
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