I have been eating fresh and brined olives for years. I like the olives with the pits and usually consume the whole pit without removing it. It was recently pointed out to me that this is not a healthy practice, and even though I have been doing this for some time, I began to wonder whether it is 1)abnormal to eat the whole olive, pit and all, and 2) will the pits have a long term adverse effect? I have never met anyone who ate olive pits, and I find the with-pit olives to be the best, so I thought I would ask. Note that I do not grind up and chew the pits, as I am sure that my teeth would not like that!

  • 11
    I've never heard of anyone eating the pits until now. I don't know if it's healthy for you or not but some of them are certainly sharp and I'm not sure I'd want that going through my small intestine. – Catija Aug 14 '15 at 15:01
  • 4
    I think you're confusing the terminology. From your question, "...I find the pitted olives to be the best...". Pitted olives have the pits removed. – Cindy Aug 14 '15 at 19:00
  • 1
    Ok, so what would one call olives with pits if they are not "pitted?" "pit-free? pit-less?" Pit olives? – ychirea1 Aug 14 '15 at 21:23
  • 4
    @ychirea1 Unpitted olives, or olives with pits. – Cascabel Aug 14 '15 at 21:35
  • 2
    Also... fresh? Fresh olives are bitter and basically inedible. – Cascabel Aug 15 '15 at 4:28

In our culture we eat olive pits (especially Kalamata) for generations and no one has ever had a problem with eating them in small quantities (3-4 max).

They seem to be digestible (never noticed any of them coming out! :)

  • 10
    Just because they did not come out does not mean you digested them. Just saying. – Alaska Man Apr 13 '17 at 17:04

I'd avoid this practice.

The olive pit husk is very hard and should not be eaten, however, as it is indigestible and might injure the intestinal wall if sharp edges are present.  Also, do not chew the husk, as it is so hard it could break a tooth. Swallowing the husk is also a bad idea, as it has sharp ends that could be dangerous.  It is also quite indigestible and will come out just as it went in. (source)

  • I will accept this answer. Although the article that you referenced suggests that the seeds inside of the pit are beneficial for eating, and possibly healthy, one still has to crack the pit to get to the seed. I will not chew the pit, it is too much trouble to crack it with a nutcracker. – ychirea1 Aug 15 '15 at 3:49
  • 2
    yes, seeds are tasty nutty-olive, close to cedar seeds, but too small to bother with opening the thick husk. – Eugene Petrov Aug 15 '15 at 3:59

I swallow olive pits occasionally,not more than 2 if they are not too big. Heard for some old folks in Greece they have done it for whole life(in their 80s still kicking and olive pits eating:)) and they believe that pits protect their intestines as they are digestible


I used to eat the meat in the olive pit. It is white and oblong shape, and it is very tasty. I have not had it since when I was a child. I will ask the herb store in Chinatown next time. this delicacy is very expensive probably because it is hard to break the pit and extract the meat.

  • Note that I do not grind up and chew the pits They won't break down either, which makes your case completely different. It is also an (one) anecdote, not an answer with arguments. – user34961 Jun 21 '17 at 7:30

Apparently US and Bulgarian research proved that olive stones melt in the digestive tract before reaching the intestines. I just received the information from a friend who is a medical researcher and I will also start eating them.

  • 7
    Apparently US and Bulgarian research proved Please back this up with actual facts, especially because of the health claims. – user34961 Jun 29 '17 at 8:01
  • 2
    Yes, citation needed. I've removed the health claims as they're off-topic here regardless of whether there's a source. – Cascabel Jun 30 '17 at 14:31

I have been eaten for years(40+). Nothing wrong with it and most probably it is healthy too. Sometimes you need to be careful because of sharpness of top side of pit. Stomach, I read it in somewhere don't remember where but, just digestive it within seconds, before it goes to intestine...

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.