Preliminary studies imply that the extract from olive leaves may have various health benefits. Benefits include lowered blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, and reduced risk of weight gain and type 2 diabetes. The olive oil extract is available in the form of tablets, capsules, and anhydrous powder. The powdered olive oil extract can be made into a tea and drank warm for health benefits. However, the studies to support such lofty claims are few and far between.
Before we dive into the many supposed health benefits of the olive oil extract, let us first learn the chemical composition of the olive oil extract and how it works the wonders that it is being reported to.
The olive oil extract is obtained from the fruits and sometimes leaves of the olive trees that are native to the Mediterranean basin. The oil consists mainly of oleic acid and lesser amounts of fatty acids such as linoleic acid and palmitic acid. It also contains trace amounts of phenolics and one of the most important of these is oleuropein. Oleuropein is allegedly responsible for the many health benefits that are attributed to the extract of olive plants.
The active ingredient oleuropein has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to deal with several health problems that ail us. The Mediterranean diet is famous for incorporating olives and olive oil into the cooking process or the final dish. Olives along with wheat and grapes form the three food core that people of the Mediterranean swear by. The percentage of unsaturated fats is much more than the saturated fats in olive oil.
Preserves Brain Health
The brain has cells that die and regenerate over time so as to keep the brain in prime condition for it to function effectively. However, as old age approaches, the old cells die faster than new cells can generate leading to degenerative neuro-disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Neuro-disorders are usually followed by partial or permanent memory loss and then the gradual loss of cognitive abilities.
Olive oil extract can protect the central nervous system and the brain from the harmful effects of a stroke or age-related degenerative diseases. The oleuropein present in olive oil is an anti-inflammatory and thus reduces the damage caused to nerves or cells due to inflammation. Oxidative stress is diminished with the help of the anti-oxidant properties of the olive extract. Recuperation from acute brain injuries is hastened by the application of olive oil extract.
Reduced risk of Cancer
The Mediterranean diet is renowned around the world for its ability to decrease the risk of cancer. The deduction of risk of cancer can be attributed to the many aspects of this diet but there is growing evidence that oleuropein may be the chief reason behind the anti-cancer effects of this particular diet. Inflammation is a major promoter of tumor growth and thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of oleuropein olive oil extract can be considered a deterrent to tumor growth. In the specific case of breast cancer cells, the oleuropein found in olive oil can prevent the malignant cells from responding to estrogen. Oleuropein also inhibits the production of certain enzymes that can break down protein to aid the cancer cells in invading healthy tissues. By blocking the production of such enzymes, oleuropein ensures that the cancer cells cannot spread to other parts of the body.
The majority of the studies to confirm the above claims have been conducted either on laboratory rats or on other animals. Even though such studies did confirm the mentioned benefits of olive oil extract but human studies are essential to firmly establish the claims and pave the way forward for the production of medicines or technology that can take advantage of the wonderful properties of the olive oil extract.
It is unclear as of yet whether olive oil extract interacts with other medications. If it does interact then what is the nature of such interaction, positive or negative? People already on prescription medications should consult their doctors before taking olive oil extract. However, it is also essential for scientists to carry out more large-scale studies on humans to confirm these findings and also to determine the long-term effects of taking olive oil extract.