Kalamata Olives: Nutrition Facts and Benefits

Medically Reviewed on 7/27/2022
Kalamata Olives: Nutrition Facts and Benefits
Like many olives, kalamata olives are high in antioxidants, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals that have been linked to many health benefits

Kalamata olives originate from the city of Kalamata, Greece. Kalamata olives are almond-shaped and bigger than other varieties of olives and have a tart, smoky flavor as well as a meaty texture. 

Like many olives, kalamata olives are high in antioxidants, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals that have been linked to many health benefits.

What is the nutritional value of kalamata olives?

Table: Nutrients in 4-5 kalamata olives (30 grams)
Nutrient Value
Calories 70 kcal
Total fat 6 grams
Dietary fiber 2 grams
Carbs 4 grams

Kalamata olives are a good source of calcium, vitamins C, K, A, B and E, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

8 health benefits of kalamata olives

1. Loaded with antioxidants

Kalamata olive oil contains a significant amount of antioxidant phenol compounds that neutralize free radical damage that can cause heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.

Antioxidant agents in kalamata olives include the following:

  • Oleic acid: Studies suggest that oleic acids may prevent inflammation and protect against diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Some studies have suggested that oleic acid may have analgesic properties. Oleic acid is used by the brain to regulate mood, which could be beneficial for patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Squalene: Squalene in kalamata olives may lower the risk of skin cancer (melanoma).
  • Oleocanthal: Oleocanthal has potent anti-inflammatory properties that help your cells work properly. Studies suggest that oleocanthal in kalamata olives may benefit joint and brain health.
  • Tyrosol: Tyrosol can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol and may therefore enhance heart health. 
  • Oleuropein: Oleuropein is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. Studies suggest that oleuropein could be beneficial for the heart and brain.
  • Hydroxytyrosol: Researchers have reported that hydroxytyrosol prevents the damaging effects of oxidation. Along with its antioxidant properties, it also helps reduce inflammation.
  • Gallic acid: This phenolic antioxidant can help reduce insulin resistance in metabolic disorders. According to recent studies, gallic acid reduces neuronal damage and amyloid neuropathology in the brain while improving cognitive performance.

2. May help fight diabetes

Studies have shown that kalamata olives can help lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels. Since they have a low glycemic index, they do not cause blood sugar spikes and prevent the sudden release of carbs into the blood. However, further research is needed to understand the function of kalamata olives in diabetes management.

3. May prevent dementia

According to some research studies, people who eat kalamata olives regularly as part of a Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop dementia and tend to live longer as well. Due to the presence of oleocanthal, kalamata oil helps prevent the buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain which may be linked to the development of dementia. However, more research is needed.

4. May promote cardiovascular health

Oleuropein in kalamata olives has been shown to lower the risk of coronary heart disease. According to studies, it may protect against acute adriamycin cardiotoxicity (damage to the heart muscle) and reduces the oxidation of LDL or bad cholesterol.

Monounsaturated fats in kalamata olives, such as linoleic, alpha-linolenic, and oleic acid, may help lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke.

5. Promotes healthy skin and hair

Oleuropein in kalamata olives protects the skin from ultraviolet B damage and fights free radical damage. Vitamin E, which is found in kalamata olive oil, can help keep the skin hydrated and minimize signs of aging.

6. Helps prevent anemia

Some varieties of kalamata olives provide about 4% of your daily nutritional requirements. Iron promotes the formation of red blood cells, preventing anemia.

7. Helps prevent osteoporosis

Studies have shown that kalamata olive oil can increase calcium absorption, which can help prevent loss of bone density or osteoporosis.

8. Boosts gut health

Cured kalamata olives are a type of fermented food and are rich in lactobacillus, which is a gut-friendly bacteria can help promote digestion and enhance immunity.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

What precautions should you take when eating kalamata olives?

Kalamata olives are generally good for your health. However, since they also contain fat and sodium, precautions to take include the following:

  • Limit your intake to 2-3 ounces or 56-84 grams per day to avoid weight gain.
  • Since kalamata olives are high in sodium, consume them in moderation to avoid diseases linked to high sodium intake.

Kalamata olives are rich in essential minerals and plant chemicals that protect the brain and heart. However, further study is needed to fully understand the health advantages of kalamata olives.

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Medically Reviewed on 7/27/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Kalamata Olives. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/527528/nutrients

Health benefits of kalamata olives. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-kalamata-olives

Preliminary Study and Observation of “Kalamata PDO” Extra Virgin Olive Oil, in the Messinia Region, Southwest of Peloponnese (Greece) https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b4f3/1f327c7bd029665f7db6f87004a9b351022f.pdf