Are Canned Olives Good for You? Are They Healthy?

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Olives whether fresh or canned are one of the main ingredients in the Mediterranean kitchen and are gaining popularity among other cousins as well. Olives provide required nutrients and antioxidants, and they are also a good source of healthful fat.

Canned olives are a store cupboard staple for a reason – they’re convenient, budget-friendly and versatile – but are canned olives good for you as fresh produce? 

If you want to learn more about canned olives and whether canned olives are good for you, you are in a right place.

canned Kalamata olives good for you
Canned Kalamata olives are convenient, economic and can be stored for couple years

Nutritional Value of Canned Olives

For most produce, when we compare the canned olives against fresh, there isn’t a great deal of difference in the macronutrients – fat, protein, and carbohydrates. 

It is difficult to generalize the nutritional value of olives since it depends on the olive variety, size, ripeness level, processing method, brine, if it is pitted or with a pit. However, an average serving of canned olives is about 5 olives or 30 grams which has 35 – 70 calories. These calories are just enough to add a little bit of flavor to your diet without having to worry about your waistline.

canned olives benefits and use
Canned olives nutritional value consists of fat, protein and carbohydrates

The olive fat is primarily unsaturated and is considered healthy and can reduce harmful cholesterol in your body to improve heart health.

Because of the curing process, some phytonutrient content is removed from olives, however, research proves that fermented olives while brine-cured has positive probiotic actions as a result, which in turn supports good digestive health.

For more information on how to cure olives, read my recent article about 3 methods to cure Kalamata olives.

Also, an insignificant amount of vitamins and minerals may be lost in the olive tinning process. Nevertheless, canned olives are still a valuable dietary source of many vitamins and minerals.

5 Canned Kalamata Olives / ServingGreenBlack or Dark Purple
Ripeness level when pickedUnripeFully Ripe
TextureHard, denserSoft
Grams (ounces)31 g27 g
Calories36 kcal62 kcal
Fat3% of daily intake6% of daily intake
Salt10% of daily intake11% of daily intake
Table: Green vs Black Canned Kalamata olives nutritional value (*for calculation used well-known Greek brand olives)

Canned Olives are the Source of Iron

Canned olives provide nutritional value thanks to the iron properties. Women need at least 6 percent of iron in their diet, while men need at least 14 percent of iron in their diet. Each quarter-cup serving provides enough iron which is the required amount for both women and men in any diet.

Iron helps in transporting oxygen around your bloodstream. Apart from transporting oxygen, iron has other nutritional benefits. It helps to detect whether your body has low oxygen levels, and it fixes before you experience tissue damage. Iron is essential for immune function and supports energy production.

Kalamata olives new superfood
Find out why Kalamata olives are superfood

Disadvantage – Too Much Sodium

If canned olives are cured in a salt brine, one major negative aspect is that they may contain too much sodium (salt in other words).

Sodium is an electrolyte mineral that aids balance fluids in your body. While you need sodium in your balanced diet, too much sodium intake does give any benefits to your body and regular consumption may cause increased blood pressure.

One ounce (28 grams) of canned black olives (which is about 5 Kalamata olives) can provide up to 209 milligrams of sodium, which is 14 percent of the daily value adult needs according to the National Academy of Science report.

This is the reason why you need to take canned olives in moderation and don’t go extreme. So are canned olives good for you? Without a doubt, is you consume them in balance while adding to your food is no harm at all – it only provides required minerals to your body. Also, when buying canned olives, check their labels and avoid those with excess added salt.

olive oil and olives benefits for beauty Oliviada
These are Kalamata olives variety – both green unripe and black ripe olives are delicious when processed and stored in a can

Canned Olives Processing

The tinning olive process will vary slightly depending on the olive variety and ripeness but essentially the olives are washed and prepared, for example, branches or leaves are removed from olives, olives may be pitted or with a pit before being blanched.

Then, these fruits are placed into a sterilized can or tin and covered with brine usually made with salty water or special brine with seasoning added upon a taste.

Olive fruits are tinned close to where they are picked in order to help preserve their freshness and nutrients as much as possible. Or olives are kept in buckets for a couple of weeks to remove bitterness.

canned olives can be both green and black
Depending on olive fruit ripeness canned olives are green or black / dark purple color; also they can be pitted or with pits

Generic FAQs

How do You Store Canned Olives?

For an unopened olive can, you can store them in your kitchen store or pantry for many months or even a few years depending on the processing – the best way is to check the expiration date on a label. The storage place needs to be cool and dry. Keep canned olives far away from direct sunlight.
Once you open canned olives, the best way is to keep them in the fridge.

How can You Serve Canned Olives?

You can use your creativity and add canned olives to your main dishes or snacks. If you have scrambled eggs for breakfast, you can add chopped olives on top to make it more flavourful! If you are making grilled chicken, you can add chopped onions, diced tomatoes, and sliced olives to your sauce.

How Long Canned Olives Last?

Like most canned foods, canned olives can last for at least 1-2 years beyond any dates stamped on the can as long as you don’t interfere with the seal and store it properly. To be more precise, the shelf life of canned olives depends on a variety of factors, such as the best before date and at what temperature the can is stored.
Once opened canned olives should be consumed within 1 – 2 weeks if kept in a fridge. Otherwise, if you keep them on a shelf, consume them within few days. Make sure olives are submerged in brine once opened no matter where you keep them.
The opened can is not easy to seal so you can either transfer the olives with brine to an airtight container or use a plastic wrap and a rubber band for a seal.
Overall, canned olives don’t go bad suddenly; they start to change taste with time. To be more precise, different food processing companies suggest that olives should be consumed within the specified number of days.

How Long Canned Olives Last?Cupboard or any Cool Dark PlaceFridge
In Brine – Unopened1 – 2 years 
In Brine – OpenedUp to 1 week2 – 3  weeks
In Olive Oil – Unopened1 – 2 years 
In Olive Oil – OpenedUp to 1 week3 – 4 weeks
These are the estimates for canned olives lasting while in brine or olive oil – remember to always check BEST BY date on a label



Conclusion on Canned Olives Good for You

Now that you know canned olives are good for you and great addition to your dishes, you should try different brands to pick your favorite one!

When choosing canned olives, keep an eye on a label and check the ingredients. To make it easier, you can take 2 cans from a shelf and compare them, get one with less salt. Also, always good to purchase from respectful manufactures to ensure you get a quality product.

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4 thoughts on “Are Canned Olives Good for You? Are They Healthy?”


    Where can I find Kalalmata olives in San Diego, CA? Are they sold at Sprouts or Trader Joe’s?


    Very informative & interesting articles on Kalamata olives. It made me think that I should have started eating olives way before now… I’ve missed much nutritive benefits.

  3. Hi Joanna, Kalamata olives are one of the most popular table olives around the world and you may find them in any big supermarket or specialized food shops. Also, you can look into online shops or reach out to producers directly.

  4. Hi Joanna, thank you for your comment. Indeed, Kalamata olives and olives, in general, are a great nutrition sauce.

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