Table olives, often eaten as a garnish or as a food or salad topping, are the bitter fruit of the olive tree. Olives aren’t very palatable upon immediate harvest and are not usually eaten until they have been cured with salt and water. They are a low-calorie, oily fruit whose unsaturated oil is touted for its health benefits.
According to The Daily Plate on LIVESTRONG.com, one variety of green olives contains 41 calories, 4.3 grams of total fat, 1.09 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram protein and 441 milligrams sodium per 1-ounce serving. This same serving size is listed on the USDA National Nutrient Database as containing 2 milligrams calcium, 1.68 milligrams potassium and 15 international units, or IUs, of vitamin A. There are approximately six olives in a 1-ounce serving.
The fat in olives is mostly monounsaturated and, because it’s derived from a plant, contains no cholesterol. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats may help lower cholesterol levels when substituted for saturated fat and trans fatty acids. It’s important to remember, however, that even though olives and olive oil provide a healthier form of fat, they still contain fat calories that can add to weight gain.
Green pimento olives are very high in sodium. Just six olives provide close to 20 percent of the recommended daily sodium limit of 2,300 mg. Since excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, it’s important to eat salty foods only in moderation and carefully tally your daily sodium intake.
The potential health benefits of the unsaturated fat and other nutrients in green pimento olives may pale in comparison to their high sodium content. A few olives sprinkled on top of a salad may give it a tasty zing, but be careful not to indulge in too many olives straight from the jar. Pay careful attention to the portion size listed on the container. Slice olives before adding them to your food to stretch fewer olives farther so you'll be less inclined to overindulge.