The Paleo List Answers: Are Olives Paleo?

Olives are small grape-sized fruits that pack a lot of salty flavor. Native to Mediterranean cuisines, they’re now commonly seen in dishes around the world, including Spanish and Peruvian foods. These small fruits are responsible for nutritious olive oil, but are jarred olives just as nutritious? Are olives Paleo?
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What Are Olives?

An olive is a fruit that grows on the small olive tree, native to the coastal areas of the Mediterranean and Caspian seas. The edible olive has been cultivated for at least 5,000 years, and the olive branch has long been considered a sign of peace and abundance, and olive oil is considered sacred. Olives have clearly been around for a very, very long time.
Are Olives Paleo

So here’s the thing about olives. We all know that olive oil is full of healthy fats, so the olives themselves are definitely good for you. However, the processing and salting and brining of olives is what puts them into a more questionable category. Additionally, there are many olive-curing methods around the world, so you might not always know exactly which process you’re dealing with. The other issue is the amount of salt. Some sources site that 1 small olive can contain 37mg of sodium.

Oh, and there’s one more potential issue with olives: lye. Many kinds of olives are cured using lye (caustic soda) to speed the process of fermentation. This ingredient should be listed as “ferrous gluconate on the label, so avoid olives with this ingredient. To stay on the safe side, you can always turn to Greece, where they do not allow caustic soda solutions. Greek olives, on the other hand, are fermented for eight to ten months using salt and red wine or red wine vinegar.

Are Olives Paleo?

Yes! Olives are Paleo. Definitely eat them in small doses because they’re incredibly high in sodium, but since you’ve eliminated processed foods, you should be able to keep your sodium intake in check! Whether they come in a can or a jar, just be sure to double check the ingredients label to make sure they’re free of all other additives, and when it doubt, stick with Greek olives.
Are you struggling with which foods are Paleo?  Do you need help planning some Paleo meals?  Check out this great Paleo cookbook:
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