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Health Benefits from Olives (Including Tapenade Recipe)

all-natural-3-1318466Olives are a key part of the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.  Olives come from trees that can be hundreds of years old and there is archeological evidence of their growth more than 10,000 years ago.  Olive trees grow well in California as well as the other major producers of Spain, Italy and Greece.

The olive fruit begins green and ripens to black.   The fruit contains up to 40% oil. Rich in oleic acid.  Oleic acid is a monounsaturated oil also known as an omega-9 fatty acid abbreviated to 18:1 cis-9

The oil is used in cooking and as salad dressings.  It may be cold pressed and designated virgin or extra (depending upon the number of pressings).  Most cooking oils are not cold pressed so olive oil retains more flavor.  Extra virgin olive oil or EVOO is especially tasty and varies with regionality.

Green and black olives are sometimes pickled in brine. They may also be pitted (the stone removed) and stuffed with pimentos, onions, almonds or other foods.

Below is a recipe using these delicious and nutritious olive fruits.

Tapenade (Olive Dip)

  • 200g whole black Niçoise or Kalamata olives
  • 3 tablespoons of capers
  • 2 anchovies
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Remove the stones from the olives with a pitter or a sharp knife. Place olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and thyme in a food processor and chop finely.  Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and finally the olive oil.  If you prefer a smoother texture you may prefer to use a pestle and mortar and pound the garlic, anchovies, capers and thyme together until smooth, followed by the olives, adding the olive oil until the desired texture.

Add seasoning of sea salt, crushed black pepper and more lemon juice if desired.

For more information on tips to making a great tasting tapenade, go to:

For educational sessions conducted by Simms/Mann Center’s Integrative Oncology Specialist Carolyn Katzin, MS, CNS to help you get your nutrition questions answered and to develop an individually tailored plan to optimize wellness, go to:

To schedule an appointment, email

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