Strong in flavor, garlic-stuffed olives are green olives that have been pitted and then stuffed with whole cloves of garlic before being preserved. While these olives are high in sodium, they also contain a number of health benefits: Garlic may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and olives are full of healthy monounsaturated fats.
Green Olive Nutrition
Green olives are picked before the olive is fully ripe and then cured in a salt brine, pickling solution or water to make them edible. Ten olives have only 39 calories per serving, just over 4 grams of total fat, the majority of which is monounsaturated, and no cholesterol. Because of the small serving size, green olives do not contain large quantities of essential vitamins and minerals, but they are still a source of calcium, B vitamins, and vitamins A, E and K.
Benefits of Garlic
Garlic is rich in antioxidants, which help protect your body's cells from damage from free radicals and environmental toxins. Antioxidants may also help with lowering cholesterol levels as well as potentially preventing heart disease, particularly atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries. The chemical that produces the strong scent of garlic, allicin, is also responsible for its numerous health benefits, as well as the high sulfur content of the herb. Naturally low in calories, 10 cloves of garlic, one for each olive, have only 45 calories per serving and less than 1/4 gram of total fat. Garlic is a good source of iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin C relative to its small serving size. It also provides some B vitamins and zinc.
High in Sodium
One drawback of garlic-stuffed olives is the high sodium content of the food, which is a result of its being canned in a brine or pickling solution. Water-canned olives often contain less added salt. A 10-olive serving size has 420 milligrams of sodium, which is 18 to 28 percent of the recommended upper limit of sodium per day. The recommended daily upper intake levels are 2,300 milligrams for most adults, and 1,500 milligrams for adults over 50, African Americans or those who are at risk of heart disease.
Monounsaturated Fat Content
Olives, the source of olive oil, are high in monounsaturated fats; indeed, the majority of their fat content is monounsaturated. A 10-olive serving has over 3 grams of monounsaturated fats. Eaten in place of either trans or saturated fats, monounsaturated fats can help lower your bad cholesterol levels, reducing your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. The American Heart Association recommends that the majority of your fats be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.
- Joy of Cooking; Irma S. Rombauer et al.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Olives, Pickled, Canned or Bottled, Green
- Mark's Daily Apple: Smart Fuel -- Olives
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Garlic
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Garlic, Raw
- Colorado State University Extension: Sodium and the Diet
- American Heart Association: Monounsaturated Fats