In a recent NY Times interview, the CEO of Whole Foods supermarkets, John Mackey, received a torrent of criticism from the internet, when he said that the “American diet was partly to blame” for the severity and deaths from COVID.  Several people complained about the high prices of Whole Foods and that they could not afford to eat from his supermarkets. But – was he right or wrong about the American Diet?  Is there a relationship between olive oil, metabolic health and COVID?

Metabolic Health and the American Diet

If Mackey was focused on calories and American levels of obesity, then he may have missed the mark.  Unfortunately, his question was eclipsed by the outrage of his prices.

However, another article that followed it asked several clinicians and nutritionists if in fact the American diet could be responsible for more deaths and serious illnesses from COVID.  Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Tufts Medical School, said “[it’s] undoubtedly the case that if we had a metabolically healthy population, Covid would be far less severe.

A “metabolically healthy population”?  So does olive oil help with the body’s metabolic health?  The answer is – it probably does. *

Researchers have indicated that diets high in saturated fats, and low in PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants have significant increase in Metabolic Syndrome which is a combination of abdominal obesity, blood hypertension, hyperglycemia, and serum dyslipidemia.  And according to the CDC, more than 94 million Americans suffer from metabolic syndrome.

So Does Olive Oil Help?

Because the body produces free radicals during the metabolic process, and these free radicals can increase the oxidative load on the body, anything that controls these free radicals would therefore reduce inflammation and oxidative damage to the cells.  And this is one of the proven benefits of extra virgin olive oil.  Nutraceutical-like properties have been attributed to oleuropein and its derivatives: hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosol.*

So, extra virgin olive oils or olive oil supplements with high levels of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol may be able to help the body’s immune response as well as assist in controlling the metabolic process with less oxidation effects.

So, look for high polyphenol levels and specifically high hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol levels in your extra virgin olive oil such as CardiOlive® 25x, with 25x the polyphenol levels of standard olive oils.

The body produces free radicals during metabolic processes. If left to roam about and accumulate, they will increase the oxidative load on the body and damage many cells. The cell damage can lead to a variety of diseases, including particular types of cancer.  As their name suggests, antioxidants prevent all this by neutralizing the free radicals.

The oleuropein and natural hydroxytyrosol found in extra virgin olive oil has been shown to send “stop” signals to the body when the process of metabolic alterations that cause increased inflammation in the body.*  In addition, the well researched benefits of olive polyphenols include their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body’s metabolic process.  It has been shown to promote weight loss, and better insulin control among diabetes patients as well.*

References:

“Beneficial effects of the olive oil phenolic components oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol: focus on protection against cardiovascular and metabolic diseases” at Pubmed.gov

“Polyphenols and Fish Oils for Improving Metabolic Health: A Revision of the Recent Evidence for Their Combined Nutraceutical Effects”  at Pubmed.gov

 

* Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.