Olives: different varieties and beneficial properties

Olives: different varieties and beneficial properties


One leads to another, just like cherries . They have remarkable beneficial properties for the body and protect against the onset of cardiovascular diseases. They are olives, fruits of the olive tree  (belonging to the  Oleaceae family ), cultivated above all in the Mediterranean basin, between Italy, France, Greece, Spain, Portugal and the Middle East. There are many varieties of olives : they vary not only according to their use –  table or pressing , therefore aimed at the production of olive oil – but also according to the country of origin, the climate and the degree of maturation. On these factors, then, will depend most of the nutritional properties andfruit  organoleptic characteristics .

Beneficial properties of olives

Olives are a food particularly rich in complex energy lipids   , the so-called  triglycerides . Their composition in fatty acids is characterized by the prevalence of  monounsaturated  and, secondarily, of  polyunsaturated and  saturated . The monounsaturated fatty acids contained in olives help in the metabolism of cholesterol.  They contain phytosterols , fat-soluble vitamins  ( tocopherols and  carotenoids ),  chlorophyll  and  polyphenols,
all with high antioxidant power, and able to reduce blood cholesterol levels , playing a decisive role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases . Olives, unlike the oil obtained from them, are rich in potassium  and  iron.

Olives in Italy

Italy is queen in the production of excellent quality olives. From north to south there are varieties known all over the world, both of table and pressed olives. The regions that boast the best olive cultivations – and the most valuable oil – are Liguria, Tuscany, Lake Garda, Puglia and Sicily. The olives destined for the production of the oil  are harvested from the tree before they are fully ripe, in order to obtain a light and not too acidic oil. Black olives , on the other hand, are left much longer on the tree, even when fully ripe, and harvested only at the beginning of winter .

There are several PDO varieties in Italy. Among these: the Bella di Cerignola, the Taggiasche olives , the Carolea, the tender Ascolana, the Nocellana del Belice, the Cassanese, the Giarraffa, the Itrana, the Sant’Agostino, the Santa Caterina, the Gaeta olives and those of Leccino.

Why are olives good for you?

Olives  have multiple beneficial properties for the body. Among them, we find:


  • Antioxidant properties : natural anti-aging prevents cellular aging
  • High content of triglycerides useful for fat metabolism
  • Protection from damage caused by  free radicals
  • They stimulate the appetite  and aid digestion
  • Anticancer properties
  • Reduction of bad cholesterol due to the emulsifying power of saturated fats contained in foods
  • Purifying and detoxifying properties of the liver
  • Protection from cardiovascular disease .
Average values ​​for 100gr
Calories 110
Edible part 83%
Waterfall 58.0g
Protein 1.5g
TOTAL lipids 27.0g
Saturated fatty acids 1.54g
Monounsaturated fatty acids 6.14g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids 0.99mg
Cholesterol 0.0mg
TOTAL Carbohydrates 5.0g
Starch 0.0g
Soluble sugars 5.0g
Dietary fiber 4.4g
Power 268,0kcal
Sodium – mg
Potassium – mg
Iron 3.5mg
Soccer 70.0mg
Phosphorus 25.0mg
Thiamine 0.0mg
riboflavin 0.10mg
Niacin 1.2mg
Vitamin A 30.0µg
C vitamin tr
Vitamin E – mg

Variety of olives

The olives are mainly divided into two macro categories: those for the table – black or green – and those for oil, therefore for pressing, which are in turn divided into several varieties: Frantoio, Leccino, Coratina, Cellina and Moraiolo. Green table olives are usually found: sweet preserved in slightly salted water (they mostly come from Puglia, such as the Bella di Cerignola variety); green olives in brine , then preserved in water and salt , or seasoned with spices and herbs, used both in the kitchen for the preparation of dishes and as an accompaniment to aperitifs . The black olivesmore common and appreciated at the table, however, are the Greek ones, dried in the oven, those of Gaeta and those in brine.


Nutritional differences between varieties

The various types of olives have a different caloric content : green olives 145 kcal per 100 g; black olives 235 kcal per 100 g; pickled olives 135 kcal per 100 gr. Black olives, in general, contain fewer carbohydrates and are more digestible than green ones, but have more fat and calories than the latter. On the other hand, olives preserved in brine are decidedly rich in sodium , because they are preserved in water and cooking salt . For this reason they should be consumed in moderation (especially by those suffering from hypertensionand renal dysfunction). Nutrition experts recommend consuming natural green or black olives, preferable to those preserved in brine as the conservation of the olives compromises the vitamin content  and in particular that of  thiamin (vit. B1)  and other more oxidizable.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *