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Royal benefits – 3 reasons the Manzanilla olive is considered the “queen” of green olives

Royal benefits – 3 reasons the Manzanilla olive is considered the “queen” of green olives

Green Manzanilla olives, botanically known as Olea europaea, are commonly used to garnish martinis and other cocktails, leading to their nickname “martini olives.”  However, the usefulness of the olive extends far beyond decorating alcoholic beverages.  Green Manzanilla olives are actually potent little nuggets of beneficial plant compounds and fatty acids that can support good health..

By the way, despite their distinctive, bitter (and somewhat addictive) flavor, olives are technically a type of fruit known as a drupe - and are closely related to peaches and cherries.  Like their sweeter cousins, Manzanilla olives offer a bonanza of health benefits.  Let’s look at three of the most compelling.

Olives support heart health in multiple ways

Olives and olive oil are a staple of The Mediterranean diet, praised by cardiologists as one of the most heart-healthy on the planet.  In fact, olives very likely play a key role in the lower incidence of heart disease in populations who follow this healthy way of eating.  Experts report that antioxidants in olives - such as oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol and quercetin - help to suppress harmful oxidative stress. .

 Oleic acid - a healthy monounsaturated fat found in olives - has been shown to support healthy blood pressure and increase levels of desirable HDL cholesterol  (This beneficial fat can also create a feeling of fullness, thereby possibly helping to avoid binge eating and food cravings).

But, that’s not all.  Oleic acid and oleuropein may also help to reduce chronic inflammation, while dilating blood vessels and promoting good circulation.  Finally, olives contain heart-healthy vitamin E and copper, a trace essential mineral needed for cardiovascular health.

Olives have probiotic benefits

Manzanilla olives contain probiotics that can improve the health of the gut microbiome (the community of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract), and researchers have found that the health and balance of the microbiome can  influence the immune system.  A recent study published in the European Journal of Nutrition reported that compounds in pickled green olives increase the population of a lactic acid bacteria known as Bifidobacteria. These “friendly” bacteria produce vitamins and antibacterial compounds in the body, while discouraging the presence of unfriendly microbes.

Another reason to eat olives:  consuming them boosts levels of glutathione, an important antioxidant enzyme that helps to neutralize toxins.

Use olives to enhance and elevate everyday dishes and salads

Green Manzanilla olives have a rich, nutty, slightly smoky taste that allows them to pair well with aged cheeses and spicy sausages.  They can also enliven a classic antipasto, enrich chicken recipes and be combined with garlic and red peppers for an irresistible olive tapenade.  Of course, green olives also add their distinctive flavor to both traditional and “virgin” Bloody Mary cocktails.

While olives are high in fat, most of it is of the beneficial monounsaturated variety.  And, each olive only packs a modest 6 calories.  However, because olives are preserved in brine, they are high in sodium – which means they should be eaten in moderation, especially by those with high blood pressure.  Most nutritional experts advise limiting intake to about 16 to 24 olives a day.

As recent research has shown, green Manzanilla olives are small-but-mighty packages of healthy nutrition.  These savory little fruits are a great addition to your daily diet.  

Sources for this article include:



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