Table olives have been used in the Mediterranean countries for centuries. The first written reference to the diverse formulas to prepare table olives is due to Columela.
The nutritional value of table olives is mainly due to their oil content, as their composition in fatty acids is similar to that of olive oil. However, table olives also have other components of great interest to the diet. Among them are: the dietary fiber, which is 2-5%; a proportion of proteins which is relatively low, 1-2%, but with an interesting proportion of the different amino acids; and a mineral content that includes marked amounts of some elements such as calcium, potassium or iron (in ripe olives). Furthermore, table olives contain an important proportion of polyphenols.
Finally, table olives can also be a marked source of antioxidants in the diet of the Mediterranean countries.
Antonio Carrido Fernandez
Instituto della Grassa, Italy