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An image with a light green background showing a comparison between two types of olives. On the left is a drawing of black olives with the text "This", and on the right is a drawing of green olives with the text "That". "VS" is in the center, highlighting which option might be healthier.

Black Olives vs Green Olives – Which is Healthier

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Our Verdict

When comparing black olives to green olives, we picked the black olives.


First know this: they are the same plant, just at different stages of ripening (green olives are, as you might expect, less ripe).

Next: the nutritional values of both, from macros down to the phytochemicals, are mostly very similar, but there are a few things that stand out:
• Black olives usually have more calories per serving, average about 25% more. But these are from healthy fats, so unless you’re on a calorie-restricted diet, this is probably not a consideration.
• Green olives are almost always “cured” for longer, which results in a much higher sodium content often around 200% that of black olives. Black olives are often not “cured” at all.

Hence, we chose the black olives!

You may be wondering: do green olives have anything going for them that black olives don’t?

And the answer has a clue in the taste: green olives generally have a stronger, more bitter/pungent taste. And remember what we said about things that have a stronger, more bitter/pungent taste:

Tasty Polyphenols: Enjoy Bitter Foods For Your Heart & Brain

That’s right, green olives are a little higher in polyphenols than black olives.

But! If you want to enjoy the polyphenol content of green olives without the sodium content, the best way to do that is not olives, but olive oil—which is usually made from green olives.

For more about olive oil, check out:

All About Olive Oils: Is “Extra Virgin” Worth It?

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