The ketogenic diet recommends keeping fruit intake to a minimum.
Most fruits are not allowed for consumption because they're high in carbohydrates which goes against the dietary standards of keto. But, there are a select few fruits that are keto-approved, contain plenty of micronutrients, and can be consumed plentifully.
One of these fruits is olives.
In this article, you'll learn exactly why olives are so good for you and how you can incorporate them into your keto lifestyle.
What Are Olives?
Olives are a small fruit that grows on olive trees and come in several types (both green and black).
They're from a group of fruit called drupes and are related to cherries, mangos, pistachios, almonds, and peaches. Olives have been cultivated by humans for 1000s of years and can be cured in different solutions to give them different tastes.
But not all olives have the same nutrient value!
Many olives are soaked in a solution that contains lye and water to soften them. While this is a relatively fast process, it usually removes most of the nutrients in the fruit. Conversely, other olives are cured in brine water which takes a longer period of time but maintains a strong nutrient profile and a richer flavor.
The most nutrient-dense olives we recommend are from organic brands as they’re most likely treated with a brine solution instead of lye.
What Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is a great addition to any ketogenic diet.
The "extra virgin" label refers to the amount of acidity of the oil and the extent of how much processing is used to extract it.
EVOO is 100% not chemically processed or heated. It's extracted directly from the olives by pressing or spinning them once they're mashed into a paste. The highest quality extra virgin olive oils are the most nutrient-dense, lower in acidity and rancidity, and also has the strongest flavor.
Note: Extra virgin olive oil has a low smoke point and will break down when it's heated too high, breaking down nutrients and causing a strange flavor. If you're cooking with high heats, consider using an oil with a higher smoking point such as avocado oil.
Are Olives Keto-Friendly?
Olives, in green or black varieties, are the perfect addition to a ketogenic diet plan. With just 3 net carbs per 100 g serving (about 10 olives), they can be eaten alongside low-carb dishes like salads, dips, or even by themselves as a snack.
And olive oil is equally as beneficial.
Olive oil is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged on the ketogenic diet. It has all of the same benefits as olives but in a liquid form.
Sprinkle it on your salad, create a chimichurri sauce for your steak, or add it on top of an avocado for a healthy fat source to aid your ketogenic diet.
Olives Nutrition Facts
Olives are extremely high in vitamin E and antioxidants.
Research shows that they are great for heart health and may help protect against some cancers as well as osteoporosis[*]. The healthy fats in olives are commonly extracted to produce extra virgin olive oil, which is considered a staple in the ketogenic diet.
Olives Nutrition Facts
- Serving size - 100g (approx. 10 olives)
- Calories - 115
- Protein - 0.8 g
- Carbs - 6 g
- Fiber - 3 g
- Fat - 11 g
The fat content is approximately 75% oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. These type of fats have several health benefits including decreased inflammation and a decreased risk of heart disease[*].
Only 5% of an olive is made up of carbs - which consists mostly of fiber - making it the perfect snack for the everyday keto-er.
In addition to olives healthy fat content, they're also extremely nutrient-dense. They are a great source of:
- Vitamin E - a powerful antioxidant
- Iron - crucial for the transport of oxygen in red blood cells
- Copper - essential mineral that is often lacking in traditional standard American diets[*]
- Calcium - vital for bone, muscle, and nerve function
- Sodium - critical for people on low-carb diets to maintain healthy electrolyte levels
Olive Oil Nutrition Facts
- Serving size - 15g (1 tbsp)
- Calories - 119
- Protein - 0 g
- Carbs - 0 g
- Fiber - 0 g
- Fat - 14 g
Olive oil contains no carbohydrates or protein. Since all of it's calories come from fat - mostly monounsaturated - it's a great addition to your ketogenic diet.
Benefits of Eating Olives on Keto
Not only are olives a great source of healthy fat, but they also come with various healing properties. These benefits include:
- Contain lots of antioxidants - Dietary antioxidants have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and can even help fight against bacteria.
- Improve heart health - The oleic acid in olives have been associated with improved heart health and may protect LDL-cholesterol from oxidation.
- Improve bone health - Studies have shown that olive oil can prevent bone loss and osteoporosis in animal trials, but more human trials are needed[*].
- High in healthy monounsaturated fats - Monounsaturated fats help reduce inflammation and benefits to genes linked to cancer, this fatty acid is abundant in olives which provide powerful healing properties.
- Anti-inflammation - Olives contain oleuropein, the primary antioxidant in olives which has anti-inflammatory properties and may protect your cells from damage[*].
- Contains antibacterial properties - The bacteria Helicobacter pylori can cause stomach ulcers or worse, cancer. Studies have shown that people who consumed 30g of EVOO daily eliminated Helicobacter pylori infection in up to 40% of people in a two-week timespan[*].
Olives: A Staple in Every Successful Keto Diet Plan
Olives and olive oil can be a ketogenic dieter’s best friend.
Whether you're looking for a quick snack, tasty addition to your salad, or want to bring out the flavor in your steak – using olives can make just about any meal tastier and healthier.
Between the profound anti-inflammation properties, the healthy fat content, and nutrient-density, there's no reason not to incorporate olives into your ketogenic diet plan!