Olives are a popular fruit in many cuisines, adding their unique flavor to salads, sauces, and other savory dishes. They and olive oil are an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, which is well known to come with many health benefits.
Olives are highly nutritious, but many people today design their diets to increase or decrease their intake of specific nutrients, such as the low-potassium diet followed by those suffering from kidney problems. People on this diet must know the potassium content of foods before incorporating them into their meal plans and ensure they stay within the daily intake limit recommended by their doctor.
Can people following such a diet safely eat olives and olive oil?
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Are Olives and Olive Oil High or Low in Potassium?
Olives and olive oil are low in potassium, so they are safe for those on a low-potassium diet.
They also contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so are a great addition to any healthy, balanced diet.
How Much Potassium Is in Olives?
Half a cup of canned green olives contains 7.2 mg of potassium, barely 1% of the recommended daily intake.
They're a safe, tasty addition to a low-potassium diet; however, if you're seeking to increase your potassium intake, olives won't help you reach that goal.
How Much Potassium Is in Olive Oil?
As with most vegetable oils, olive oil contains virtually no potassium. It is also healthier than other vegetable oils.
Are Olives and Olive Oil Good for You?
Most of the calories in olives come from a fat called oleic acid, which may reduce inflammation and your risk of heart disease. Some studies suggest that it may also prevent cancer.
Olives are an excellent source of iron, with half a cup containing around 15% of the recommended daily intake. Iron helps control energy levels and gastrointestinal processes, boosts your immune system, and regulates body temperature. It also helps prevent and treat the symptoms of anemia.
Black and green olives are excellent sources of antioxidants, which help flush free radicals from your body, preventing oxidative stress and damage and potentially reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer.
The antioxidants and other compounds in olives may also prevent liver damage, reduce inflammation, regulate blood fat levels, and lower blood pressure.
Although higher in calories, olive oil's health benefits are similar to those of olives. Extra virgin olive oil contains good amounts of vitamins E and K and fatty acids, which may help prevent coronary disease.
Vitamin K also contributes to bone health and blood clotting.
Olive oil also contains many anti-inflammatory substances, which benefit your heart and may protect you from cancer.
Can You Get Too Much Potassium from Olives and Olive Oil?
Olives and olive oil aren’t high in potassium, so it would be almost impossible to get too much from eating them alone.
However, olives are high in sodium, which can cause kidney problems, fluid buildup, and high blood pressure.
As sodium and potassium work together, too much sodium in your diet can cause problems if you're on a low-potassium diet.
Are Black Olives High in Potassium?
Half a cup of black olives contains just 6.5 mg of potassium.
Black olives taste slightly milder than green and contain iron and calcium but are also high in sodium.
Are Pickled Olives High in Potassium?
Half a cup of pickled olives has 75.6 mg of potassium, considerably higher than other varieties.
They also contain nearly double the sodium of ripe olives.
Olives and olive oil are very low in potassium but high in other nutrients, so they're an excellent addition to a kidney-friendly diet.