Free radical-scavenging properties of olive oil polyphenols
Updated September 30th 2021
The COVID pandemic has reminded us of the importance of looking after your immune system and the anti-inflammatory properties of extra virgin olive oil could be a simple and effective way to do so.
By choosing a high-quality olive oil, rich in antioxidant compounds (or polyphenols) we can arm our bodies against harmful free radicals – the unstable atoms which can increase oxidative stress, damage the body’s cells and lead to a range of diseases.
The antioxidants in high quality, cold pressed, single source extra virgin olive oil such as Morocco Gold are an excellent weapon against the potential harm caused by free radicals. Because olive oil is high in antioxidants and vitamin E, it provides significant natural protection from oxidative damage.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Oxidative Stress and COVID-19
While hopes are high that we are now entering a new phase of the COVD-19 Pandemic, new strains of the virus mean that keeping our immune system in check has never been more important. Improving our diet is a powerful way to help fight infection and the Mediterranean Diet, including the best extra virgin olive oil is a great place to start.
Nutritional Therapist Jennifer McDaniel asks: “Is there a BEST way to eat to support our immune health? If we had to choose one, we’d say the research points to the Mediterranean Diet.”
And U.S. News currently ranks The Mediterranean Diet as number 1 in Best Diets Overall with a host of health benefits linked to its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and extra virgin olive oil.
Infections or infectious diseases are caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and various other disease-causing agents. Once an infection is contracted, the human body relies on the immune system to fight the infection through a range of cellular, inflammatory, and immune reactions. Although there are medications to treat infection, naturally derived food sources such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil also show promise in preventing and treating infection also.
Dozens of phenolic compounds have been identified in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), each with their own unique health benefits. One of the benefits of these compounds is they have high bioavailability, extensive research reporting the anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties obtained from these compounds.
Why IS Extra Virgin Better Than Regular Olive Oil To Protect Our Immune System?
A recent study by researchers at the National Research Council’s Institute of Food Sciences and the University of Salerno has shown that polyphenols from three different olive oil varieties have an inhibitory effect against several bacterial strains.
The tests were performed using 2.5 and 4.9 micrograms of the three polyphenol extracts against different pathogens. The results showed that the minimum concentration necessary to inhibit the growth of the pathogenic tester strains was low for all the polyphenolic extracts. This confirmed their general capacity to inhibit the growth of pathogenic or unwanted microorganisms.
In particular, all three extracts were effective in inhibiting the growth of Escherichia coli, a bacterium that is one of the causes of urinary tract infections. The three extracts also were found to be capable of inhibiting the growth of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, a well-known pathogen that is responsible for the formation of biofilms. Biofilms are densely packed communities of microbial cells that grow on living or inert surfaces and surround themselves with secreted polymers. Because the protective shell can keep out potential treatments, biofilms are at their most dangerous when they invade human cells or form on sutures and catheters used in surgeries. In American hospitals alone, thousands of deaths are attributed to biofilm-related surgical site infections and urinary tract infections.
“They gave us remarkable results in terms of their activity against pathogenic species, namely those that are responsible for the formation of biofilms. This could be a basis of complementary studies to formulate ideal drugs of natural origin, composed of optimal mixtures of polyphenols, which are able to exercise with the minimum effort, in terms of quantity, and the maximum result, namely against the greatest number of pathogens, their antibacterial efficacy,”Filomena Nazzaro, senior scientist at the National Research Council’s Institute of Food Sciences, Italy
Why Buy Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil Like Morocco Gold?
Morocco Gold is one of the purest , unrefined extra virgin olive oils available and, thanks to our unique source in the foothills of The Atlas Mountains and attention to detail at every step of the growing, harvesting and pressing process, our oil is bursting with very high levels of polyphenols.
Morocco Gold is pressed from the Picholine Marocaine, the only type of olive to go into Morocco Gold. Oil from this variety is renowned for it’s high polyphenol count, oxidative stability and longevity.
Our olives are grown in a valley that is about 2,000 feet above sea level. This helps to create the additional climatic challenges that encourage polyphenol uptake within the olive tree. It is also an area with naturally occurring high phenols in the soil itself.
In fact, this year’s harvest – now available for purchase online – has the highest ever recorded level of polyphenols in our oil at 644mg/kg.
In fact, Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains no fewer than six different polyphenols. These are:
The Role of Probiotics in Boosting Our Immune System
Probiotics are the health bacteria living in our guts, which balance intestinal flora and stimulate protective functions of our digestive system. They have many beneficial properties and are especially helpful following a course of antibiotics – which can strip the digestive system of its natural bacteria.
According to the Olive Oil Times; “The use of olives as a source of probiotics may be preferable for those who are unable to eat dairy due to intolerances or those who require a healthy diet.”
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has high amounts of vitamins including vitamin E and K, and – crucially – is packed full of antioxidants to protect the body from oxygen-free radicals and help you fight off infection. It does this in two main ways:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil has anti-inflammatory properties
Due to the high levels of oleocanthal that are contained in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it has been shown to perform similarly to anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. Studies have shown that just four teaspoons of olive oil daily could help your body to combat conditions like arthritis, autoimmune diseases and even allergies. But, while Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Ibrufen have the same effect on treating inflammation, they have different effects on the body.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil can aid disease prevention
Another component of Extra Virgin Olive Oil that is known to have hugely beneficial properties is oleic acid which has shown the ability to destroy certain breast cancer genes. In one recent study, researchers found that oleic acid can weaken a cancer gene found in 25 to 30 percent of all breast cancers. It can also help you to manage diabetes and many cardiac conditions. Researchers have found that a Mediterranean diet with either extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts can significantly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Recent global health events have led many of us to delve deeper into the science behind protecting our bodies from infection and there is an abundance of research to help us find the answers. And, with people spending more time than ever preparing meals for the whole family at home, we want to understand how our dietary choices can affect our overall health.
And, in the case of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it really is worth your time and research.
Consuming plenty of nutrients as part of a varied and balance diet is essential for the health and function of all cells, including immune cells.