Are Kalamata Olives Good for You?

Are Kalamata Olives Good for You?

You’re familiar with the green olives that bob in a martini and the shiny black olives you see on pizza. But don’t pass up a chance to try Kalamata olives. These wrinkly, dark fruits — yes, the olive is a fruit — can enhance recipes, as well as serve up a host of nutty-flavored nutritional benefits.

Real Kalamata olives are only found on the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece. Growing under the Grecian sunshine, Kalamata trees have much larger leaves than other types of olive trees and absorb more sunshine. This gives their dark purple fruit a dense texture and a flavor some compare to fine wine.

They’re more bitter than the canned black olives most Americans are familiar with, but they’re brined in water, salt, and red wine vinegar, which mellows their bitter bite and softens the flesh. The vinegar also enhances the olives’ already winey flavor.

Sacred Fruit
The earliest cultivation of olive trees was probably over five thousand years ago. The olive’s native habitat is the western Mediterranean and in the Middle East. Both the Quran and the Bible mention olive trees, and some olive trees standing today are older than those texts. Carbon dating has shown that an olive tree in Crete is over 2,000 years old.

Are Kalamata Olives Good for You?
Olives are a good nutrient source. And though Kalamata olives are usually packed in brine, you can buy low-salt versions if you want to lower the amount of sodium you’re taking in.

Healthy Fats

As you might guess, Kalamata olives are abundant in the same healthy fat found in olive oil. Monounsaturated fats may reduce your cholesterol and your chance of heart attack and stroke, according to Harvard Medical School. The United States Department of AgricultureTrusted Source (USDA) estimates that two tablespoons of olives contain about 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fat.


The nutrition in olives adds up. A serving of about 20 olives, which you might enjoy in an olive-rich recipe like a tapenade, provides nearly 10 percent of your daily recommended intake of iron.


Kalamata olives are also a source of calcium. Getting enough calcium keeps bones strong and can encourage sleep. Your body absorbs calcium best when you also consume potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. Try combining sliced Kalamata olives with tomatoes and kale and serving with pasta or quinoa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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