How a healthy diet and lifestyle including polyphenol rich extra virgin olive oil can help fight the symptoms of COVID-19
Updated January 26th 2023
- Studies have show that regular consumption of this oil can help guard against chronic diseases linked with obesity.
- More recently, research has shown that the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil may also protect against the symptoms of long covid.
- Incorporating a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into our day-to-day diets promotes good physical wellbeing, but also gives peace of mind knowing that it strengthens our immune system against the virus.
- New Research Examining The Impact Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil On Symptoms Of Covid 19
- The Impacts Of Healthy Diet & Lifestyle On COVID Symptoms
- Why The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil May Help Protect Against Covid
- Inflammation Can Go Too Far
- Glucose Fuels Damage
- Inflammation: A Key Factor That Explains Vulnerability To Severe COVID
- Other Risks Tied To Inflammation
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil To Fight Inflammation
- Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil Benefits Your Immune System
- Why Polyphenols Help Fight Disease
- Top 10 facts about Polyphenols in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
New Research Examining The Impact Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil On Symptoms Of Covid 19
Research continues to show that extra virgin olive oil, an antioxidant-rich pantry staple, can be beneficial in warding off chronic diseases linked with obesity. But did you know it might also be able to help fight against COVID-19?
As terrifying as the COVID-19 pandemic has been, new research has demonstrated that extra virgin olive oil can provide tangible benefits to one’s long-term health. Studies have show that regular consumption of this oil can help guard against chronic diseases linked with obesity. More recently, research has shown that the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil may also protect against the symptoms of long covid, providing a glimmer of hope for those suffering in these uncertain times.
By incorporating a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into our day-to-day diets we can be sure to reap its many corroborated benefits. Not only does healthy eating promote good physical wellbeing, but also gives us peace of mind knowing that it strengthens our immune system against the virus.
Experts in the medical field are actively encouraging individuals to find additional sources of protection such as extra virgin olive oils that are natural instead of being over-dependant on pharmaceuticals.
With more research needed, there’s no harm in giving it a try!
The Impacts Of Healthy Diet & Lifestyle On COVID Symptoms
As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, researchers have found associations between certain lifestyle factors and a person’s risk of getting infected. While it has already been established that those with Type II diabetes and a high body mass index (BMI) are at greater risk of experiencing hospitalizations and other severe complications related to COVID-19, they are also at greater risk of getting symptomatic infection in the first place. That is the finding of a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine that was recently published in the journal PLoS ONE.
Using data from the UK Biobank of 500,000 British volunteers over age 40, the researchers examined health factors in those who tested positive for COVID-19 and compared them to those who tested negative. They found that those who had positive COVID-19 test results were more likely to be obese or have Type II diabetes. Those who tested negative were more likely to have high levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and be at a healthy weight with a normal body mass index (BMI).
“Certain baseline cardiometabolic factors appear to either protect a person from COVID-19 infection while others make a person more vulnerable to infection,” said study author Charles Hong, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and director of cardiology research at the University of Medicine School of Medicine. “But this study wasn’t designed to determine what factors actually cause COVID-19 infections. These are statistical associations that point to the importance of a healthy functioning immune system for protecting against COVID-19 infection.”
He and his colleagues controlled for potential confounding factors like socioeconomic status, age, gender and ethnicity. “Our findings point to some healthy measures people can take to help potentially lower their risk of COVID-19 infection,” Dr. Hong said. “Controlling body weight is very important during this time, and measures to increase HDL levels like regular exercise and a diet rich in monounsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil and avocados might be helpful too.”
Why The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil May Help Protect Against Covid?
A common feature for many patients that get severe COVID is serious lung damage caused by an overly vigorous immune response. This is characterised by the creation of lots of inflammatory products called cytokines – the so-called cytokine storm.
As reported in the Olive Oil Times , extra virgin olive oil has been shown to reduce levels of cytokine in the body, which in turn can reduce both the symptoms associated with COVID-19 and their severity. Cytokines are small proteins that are crucial in controlling the growth and activity of other immune system cells and blood cells. When released, they signal the immune system to do its job. Cytokines affect the growth of all blood cells and other cells that help the body’s immune and inflammation responses.
Although cytokines are an important component of our immune system, too many of these can lead to what is known as a ‘cytokine storm’. This is essentially an overreaction of our immune system which can have a seriously detrimental impact on COVID-19 sufferers and, in some cases, lead to fatality. This is because cytokine storms reduce the amount of oxygen circulating in our blood, causing fluid build-up in the lungs and lead to life-threatening breathing difficulties.
Inflammation Can Go Too Far
Many white blood cells create cytokines, but specialised cells called monocytes and macrophages seem to be some of the biggest culprits in generating cytokine storms. When properly controlled, these cells are a force for good that can detect and destroy threats, clear and repair damaged tissue, and bring in other immune cells to help.
However, in severe COVID the way monocytes and macrophages work misfires. And this is particularly true in patients with diabetes and obesity.
Glucose Fuels Damage
Diabetes, if not controlled well, can result in high levels of glucose in the body. A recent study showed that, in COVID, macrophages and monocytes respond to high levels of glucose with worrying consequences.
The virus that causes COVID, SARS-CoV-2, needs a target to latch onto in order to invade our cells. Its choice is a protein on the cell surface called ACE2. Glucose increases the levels of ACE2 present on macrophages and monocytes, helping the virus infect the very cells that should be helping to kill it.
Cytokines, small proteins released by a number of immune cells, play a key role in directing the immune response. scientificanimations.com, CC BY-SA
Once the virus is safely inside these cells, it causes them to start making lots of inflammatory cytokines – effectively kick-starting the cytokine storm. And the higher the levels of glucose, the more successful the virus is at replicating inside the cells – essentially the glucose fuels the virus.
But the virus isn’t done yet. It also causes the virally infected immune cells to make products that are very damaging to the lung, such as reactive oxygen species. And on top of this, the virus reduces the ability of other immune cells – lymphocytes – to kill it.
Obesity also causes high levels of glucose in the body and, similar to diabetes, affects macrophage and monocyte activation. Research has shown that macrophages from obese individuals are an ideal place for SARS-CoV-2 to thrive.
Inflammation: A Key Factor That Explains Vulnerability To Severe COVID
The severity of COVID-19 can vary hugely. In some it causes no symptoms at all and in others it’s life threatening, with some people particularly vulnerable to its very severe impacts.
The virus disproportionately affects men and people who are older and who have conditions such as diabetes and obesity. In the UK and other western countries, ethnic minorities have also been disproportionately affected.
While many factors contribute to how severely people are affected, including access to healthcare, occupational exposure and environmental risks such as pollution, it’s becoming clear that for some of these at-risk groups, it’s the response of their immune system – inflammation – that explains why they get so sick.
Specifically, we’re seeing that the risks associated with diabetes, obesity, age and sex are all related to the immune system functioning irregularly when confronted by the virus.
Other Risks Tied To Inflammation
The same sort of inflammatory profile that diabetes and obesity cause is also seen in some older people (those over 60 years). This is due to a phenomenon known as inflammageing.
Inflammageing is characterised by having high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. It’s influenced by a number of factors, including genetics, the microbiome (the bacteria, viruses and other microbes that live inside and on you) and obesity.
Many older people also have fewer lymphocytes – the very cells that can specifically target and destroy viruses.
This all means that for some older people, their immune system is not only poorly equipped to fight off an infection, but it is also more likely to lead to a damaging immune response. Having fewer lymphocytes also means vaccines may not work as well, which is crucial to consider when planning a future COVID vaccine campaign.
Another puzzle that has been worrying researchers is why men seem so much more vulnerable to COVID. One reason is that cells in men seem to be more readily infected by SARS-CoV-2 than women. The ACE2 receptor that the virus uses to latch onto and infect cells is expressed much more highly in men than women. Men also have higher levels of an enzyme called TMPRSS2 that promotes the ability of the virus to enter the cells.
Immunology is also offering some clues on the sex difference. It’s long been known that men and women differ in their immune responses, and this is true in COVID.
A recent pre-print (research that has not yet been reviewed) has tracked and compared the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 in men and women over time. It found that men were more likely to develop atypical monocytes that were profoundly pro-inflammatory and capable of making cytokines typical of a cytokine storm. Women also tended to have a more robust T cell response, which is needed for effective virus killing. However, increased age and having a higher body mass index reversed the protective immune effect in women.
Studies like these highlight how different people are. The more we understand about these differences and vulnerabilities, the more we can consider how best to treat each patient. Data like these also highlight the need to consider variation in immune function and include people of varied demographics in drug and vaccine trials.
Sheena Cruickshank, Professor in Biomedical Sciences, University of Manchester
Extra Virgin Olive Oil To Fight Inflammation
Polyphenol rich olive oil fights inflammation in the body and can regulate muscle damage or chemicals that cause inflammation. As inflammation is related to various other diseases, polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil help to fight these diseases including cardiovascular problems.
Inflammation is a natural response to potential dangers and damage to organs in our body, however it can become self-perpetuating leading to long-term problems.
There are 2 types of inflammatory diseases, acute and chronic.
Poor diet can contribute to long-term chronic inflammatory diseases.
A healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, including extra virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold can help combat inflammatory diseases.
The polyphenols Oleouropein Aglycone and Oleocanthal within extra virgin olive oil help to combat inflammatory diseases. Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is rich in both polyphenols.
Inflammation is a critical response to potential danger signals and damage in organs in our body. In diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and others, the immune system turns against the bodies’ organs. These painful and, in some cases, progressively debilitating conditions can take a toll on people’s quality of life and create both societal and economic burdens.
The inflammatory process in the body serves an important function in the control and repair of injury. Commonly referred to as the inflammatory cascade, or simply inflammation, it can take two basic forms, acute and chronic. Acute inflammation, part of the immune response, is the body’s immediate response to injury or assault due to physical trauma, infection, stress, or a combination of all three. Acute inflammation helps to prevent further injury and facilitates the healing and recovery process.
When inflammation becomes self-perpetuating however, it can result in chronic or long-term inflammation. This is known as chronic inflammation, and lasts beyond the actual injury, sometimes for months or even years. It can become a problem itself and require medical intervention to control or stop further inflammation-mediated damage.
Chronic inflammation can affect any and all parts of the body. Inflammation can also be a secondary component of many diseases. For example, in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries where, chronic inflammation of blood vessel walls can result in plaque build-up in the arteries, arterial or vascular blockages, and heart disease. Chronic inflammation also plays a significant role in other diseases and conditions including chronic pain, poor sleep quality, obesity, physical impairment, and overall decreased quality of life.
Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil Benefits Your Immune System
Regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil as part of a balanced Mediterranean Diet is one of eight recommended steps to help support a healthy immune system. But why, exactly, does the best quality extra virgin olive oil have such a powerful effect on our immune system?
According to Ahmad Alkhatib, a researcher at Teesside University Center for Public Health: “Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, contains monounsaturated fatty acids and several polyphenols including oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. These have several antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be linked with significant antiviral and antibacterial potential.”
“Oleuropein has shown potential antiviral activity against the respiratory syncytial virus, a common upper respiratory infection virus. This effect has been attributed to the antioxidative property of elenolic acid, the main fragment in oleuropein.”
Extra virgin olive oil is identified as one of the key foods in the Mediterranean diet with excellent antiviral superpowers. Vegetables, fish, nuts, herbs and seeds are all known to produce similar effects. This is due to the presence of polyphenols, flavonoids, sterols and unsaturated fatty acids – all of which contribute to these powerful properties.
Why Polyphenols Help Fight Disease
One of the most health-giving elements of the best extra virgin olive oils is the presence of Polyphenols in large numbers. Morocco Gold is rich in these powerful antioxidants and our new harvest for 2021 has no less than seven polyphenols – more than ever before.
The high polyphenol content of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is dependent on three factors. First is the variety of the olive, secondly the climate and terroir of the growing region and thirdly the actual time in the growing season that the crop is harvested.
Morocco Gold is pressed from the Picholine Marocaine, the only type of olive to go into Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil. Oil from this variety is renowned for its high polyphenol count, oxidative stability and longevity.
Thirdly, our olives are picked when the fruit is young and green. As the olives age on the tree, the colour of the olive changes to red and then black, the size of the olive increases thus producing more oil, but the polyphenol level decreases. There is a great deal of expertise within the farming community where we source our oil to ensure that the harvest is collected at the optimum time to maximise the polyphenol level in Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil.
If you have a thirst for more in-depth knowledge on the science behind each of the seven polyphenols in Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil, we would love you to follow our series of Blogs which place a spotlight on each here.
But, if you’d rather have the key facts distilled neatly, we are pleased to do so here:
Top 10 facts about Polyphenols in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Polyphenols are regarded for their health promoting properties and occur in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes, beverages (coffee, tea and wine), fats (extra virgin olive oil) as well as spices and seasonings. But why should we care?
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Lowers Blood Pressure
Unhealthy oils can raise your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which can even result in serious illness. Extra virgin olive oil combats this, so you can feel better!
2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Boosts The Immune System
As we have mentioned above, H=healthy immunity is key to protection against diseases like inflammatory disorders and cancer. You can count on extra virgin olive oil for an immunity boost.
3. Say Goodbye To Allergies With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Enough sneezing, coughing, and spluttering. Extra virgin olive oil’s phenolic compounds fight allergies so you can enjoy lasting relief.
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Boosts Mental Health
Phenolic compounds have also been found to prevent the development of neurogenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Helps To Balance Blood Sugar
Did you know that extra virgin olive oil can actually lower your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes? This oil boosts insulin effectiveness to balance blood sugar!
6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil For Healthy Weight
Seeing as extra virgin olive oil is so full of healthy fats, you’ll be at less risk of obesity.
Phenolic compounds have been proven to offer various “anti” effects, including antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-cancer.
8. No More Inflammation With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Inflammation can be painful, but extra virgin olive oil can help with that – with its antioxidants that reduce swelling all over the body.
9. Better Digestion With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil contains something called “sitosterol,” which regulates cholesterol absorption. In simple English, your digestion tract will be healthier than ever!
10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil For Overall Health Protection
Honestly, there are so many benefits to consuming extra virgin olive oil, we’d be here all day if we were to list them all. The fact that it’s so delicious is a bonus!