What are olive benefits and side effects? Are olives vegan? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Low fodmap? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are olive pros and cons: all the info on olives that every ethical consumer wants to know…
Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on olive benefits and side effects.
You are going to learn all about olive benefits and side effects. This will include olive benefits for your health and potential risks, olive water footprint and olive carbon footprint, olive sustainability, if olive are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more.
After learning if olive are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.
This post is all about olive benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.
Olive Benefits And Side Effects
Olive benefits for health may include:
- improved bone, muscle and nerve function
- lowered risk of osteoporosis
- decreased inflammation
- decreased risk of deep vein thrombosis
- fight and prevent cancer
- heart health
- improved bone health
- lowered cholesterol and high blood pressure
- reduced risk of chronic illness
- reduced the risk of heart disease and heart attack
- weight loss
Olive side effects:
- There are no major or notable olive side effects. Be sure to eat in moderation as with any food. Do not over-consume.
Additionally, olives are…
- Alkaline 8.0 pH level (fresh, ripe) once digested
- Acidic 6.5 pH level (pickled) once digested
- Gluten Free
- Not a common Food Allergen
- A Low-FODMAP Food
Water footprint: moderate, it takes 3,015 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of olives / 361 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of olives
Carbon footprint: high, 4.5 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of olives, a car driving equivalent of 10.25 miles or 16.5 kilometers
Destruction: high, olive production is relatively destructive, high levels of soil erosion and run off to water courses mainly in intensified-traditional and modern-intensive systems, olive plantations are deserted in dry areas, soil erosion often increases later and leads to desertification
Kills: none, olive production does not require any animals to be killed
Harms: none, olive production does not require any animals to be used
Indirectly kills or harms: wild songbirds, commercial night-time olive harvesting (mainly in Spain and Portugal) can involve vacuum techniques that kill migratory songbirds, intentional activities may involve capture, death, disturbance, retention, destruction of nests and eggs, Portugal’s night harvesting machines vacuum up some 96,000 birds each year, an initial report by the Government of Andalusia published in 2018 states approximately 2,600,000 birds could be killed due to night-harvesting techniques every year in Spain alone, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat
- May kill or harm migratory songbirds
- Harmful to wildlife and ecosystems unless organic
Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible
Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation
Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits
- May involve worker exploitation, laborer issues, human rights concerns
The world’s top olive producing country is Spain, followed by Italy and Morocco.
The world’s top olive exporting country is Portugal, Greece, Spain, Mexico, Jordan, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and USA.
Yes! Olives are very high in vitamin E, healthy fats and other powerful antioxidants.
Olives are vegan but often harmful to wildlife. Wild songbirds are often harmed and killed during olive harvesting, at times even intentionally. Commercial night-time olive harvesting (mainly in Spain and Portugal) can involve vacuum techniques that kill migratory songbirds.
Are olives alkaline or acidic?
Olives are alkaline when fresh and mildly acidic when pickled.
What is the pH level of olives?
Olives have an 8.0 pH level when fresh and 6.5 pH level when pickled, once digested.
When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.
Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List
Are olives gluten free?
Yes, olives are gluten free. Olives does not contain gluten when unseasoned. Olives is a type of tree fruit, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food.
While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…
Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:
- recurring abdominal pain
- chronic diarrhea
- numbness in hands and feet
- chronic fatigue
- joint pain
- unexplained infertility
- low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.
Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List
Are olives a common food allergen?
No, olives are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to olives but it is relatively rare by comparison.
A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.
Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List
Are olives low FODMAP?
Yes, olives are low-FODMAP, a food ok to eat if on a low-FODMAP diet.
A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.
See this High-FODMAP and Low-FODMAP List of Food
Water footprint of olives?
Olives have a relatively moderate water footprint compared to other foods.
It takes 3,015 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of olives / 361 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of olives.
Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!
How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?
We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.
Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Carbon footprint of olives?
Olives have a relatively high carbon footprint compared to other foods.
It takes around 4.5 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of olives, a car driving equivalent of 10.25 miles or 16.5 kilometers.
Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.
When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…
- farm equipment
- animal feed production
- hothouses (greenhouses)
- food processing
- package waste and more
But that’s not all!
It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:
- shopping locally reduces transportation emissions
- food without packaging reduces waste as well as the carbon footprint
- refrigerated and frozen foods increase carbon emissions
- seasonal foods reduce carbon emissions from hothouses (greenhouses)
- growing plant-based foods at home is the most environmentally sustainable method with zero carbon footprint
Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Are olives sustainable?
Olives production is relatively unsustainable due to their moderate water footprint, high carbon footprint and other factors like high levels of soil erosion.
A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.
Are olives vegan?
Yes, olives are vegan. Olives are a fruit and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. However, wild songbirds are often harmed and killed, at times even intentionally.
Commercial night-time olive harvesting (mainly in Spain and Portugal) can involve vacuum techniques that kill migratory songbirds. Intentional activities may involve capture, death, disturbance, retention, destruction of nests and eggs. Portugal’s night harvesting machines vacuum up some 96,000 birds each year and an initial report by the Government of Andalusia published in 2018 states approximately 2,600,000 birds could be killed due to night-harvesting techniques every year in Spain alone.
Go vegan for animals!
Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List
Do olives have human rights issues?
At this time there have been no major concerns with olive production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!
It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.
Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized.
Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks.
Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.
Olive pros include:
- numerous health benefits
- alkaline when fresh
- gluten free
- not a common food allergen
- moderate water footprint
Olive cons include:
- acidic when pickled
- high carbon footprint
- can kill or harm migratory songbirds
- possible laborer exploitation (as with most foods)
- pesticide ingestion and contamination if not organic (as with most produce)
This post was all about olive benefits and side effects.
Olives, ripe, canned (small-extra large) – FoodData Central
Importing Olives | Agricultural Marketing Service
Spain Undertakes Important Step to Prevent Illegal Killing of Migratory Birds
Millions of Songbirds Do Not Need to Suffer Gruesome Deaths So the Olive Industry Can Save a Buck
Olive harvesting and bird deaths
Millions of Birds Killed by Nighttime Harvesting in Mediterranean
Millions of songbirds ‘vacuumed’ to death every year during olive harvest season
Adriane MarieHi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.
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