Olive Leaf Extract and Its Benefits on Wellbeing
Known for its rich flavours and its possible wellbeing benefits, the Mediterranean diet is favoured by people around the world. It consists of ingredients that generally hail from the countries around the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece, Italy, Spain and France. A principal ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, olive leaf, according to scientists has the potential to prevent chronic diseases. This diet is distinguished by a high consumption of vegetables and olive oil and moderate consumption of protein which are believed to confer health benefits. There has been much research that points to lowered rates of illnesses and cancer-related deaths among communities that follow this diet. This effect is owed in part to the olive leaf — the ever powerful health-booster.
Olive leaf extract is a concentrated dose of nutrients found in olive tree leaves and is a potent source of antioxidants which lends a helping hand to support your immune system. Antioxidants reduce your risk of many illnesses by fighting cell damage that causes diseases. Research shows that this activity in olive leaf extract may contribute to a plethora of other health benefits.
Do you know that the first usage of olive leaf dates back to ancient Egypt civilisation and was regarded as a symbol of heavenly power? The extract of olive leaves is used holistically to fight against viruses due to its antimicrobial and antiviral properties, by interfering with the ability of bacteria and viruses to replicate themselves and cause infection. In laboratory testing, olive leaf extract was shown to effectively fight herpes, mononucleosis, and rotavirus, and it may also be useful against Covid-19, influenza and HIV. Their benefits haven’t been proven in human studies, however, strong anecdotal evidence suggests it can effectively treat cold sores.
Prevent Weight Gain
Besides benefits related to cardiovascular health and diabetes, you’d be happy to learn that the component in olive leaf extract, oleuropein, is a polyphenol (micronutrients that we get through certain plant-based foods) that may help prevent weight gain.
In a study, researchers orally administered oleuropein to rats with obesity that were consuming a high-cholesterol diet. After 8 weeks, it was observed that the rats had lowered body weight, less fat tissue and an improved metabolic profile. The weight loss benefits are evident in another study that showed that oleuropein supplementation reduced body weight and weight gain in mice that were consuming a high-fat diet. That said, further research should be explored to confirm the weight loss benefits on humans.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Olive leaf extract and the Mediterranean diet has been directly linked to decreasing cardiovascular diseases and some preliminary studies suggest that it may help improve cholesterol levels. This is evident in a study on rats with either a high-cholesterol or a normal diet which some were given olive leaf extract to. After 8 weeks, it was found that the cholesterol-fed rats had higher levels of total cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The rats that consumed the olive leaf extract showed significantly lower cholesterol levels.
The findings could also translate to humans, evident in a study that compared the effects of food supplementation with olive leaf extract with lifestyle advice in 40 identical twins with high blood pressure. Eight weeks later, it was exhibited that olive leaf extract significantly lowered LDL cholesterol levels within the twin pairs in a dose-dependent manner. This could be assumed that dispensing larger doses may have a better effect.
Lower Risk of Diabetes
Olive leaves have been widely used in traditional remedies in European and Mediterranean countries as extracts, herbal teas and powder. The antioxidants intrinsically found in olive leaves may have hypoglycemic properties, which essentially means lowering blood sugar and stabilising it to maintain healthy levels. Researchers propound to find that those suffering from diabetes will benefit from this component as olive leaf extract can reduce the body’s insulin resistance and may even prevent you from developing the disease.
Stronger Immune System
The Mediterranean style of eating is associated with lowering chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Olive leaf extract contains a range of bioactive plant compounds, including Oleuropein which has the ability to attack and neutralise viruses and bacteria.