Olive tree groves have had their roots in Mediterranean soil for thousands of years. This plant and its fruit were a mainstay in diets and wellness tonics in the ancient days. The magic of the olive, however, hasn’t faded over the years. The popularity of the Mediterranean diet, as well as the continual studies about longevity in that part of the world have just added to the olive’s long list of accomplishments.
Scientific advancements have allowed people to find new ways to utilize the olive. One of which is extract from the olive leaf. Olive Leaf Extract—which is produced by pressing the leaf of the olive plant—has been found to be rich in antioxidants and has a number of other health benefits.
It’s time to look past the olive oil and learn about Olive Leaf Extract. Here’s what you need to know:
Oleuropein is a molecule that gives olive oil and olive leaf extract their health properties. Oleuropein is a polyphenol, which is a type of phytochemical. Phytochemicals are found only in plant-based foods. The more diverse your diet in fruits and vegetables, the more varied phytochemicals you’ll get in your body. In plants, phytochemicals are the reason for the color, taste, and smell of plants. They help plants grow and can protect them against disease and predators.
In people, phytochemicals serve as antioxidants. Antioxidants can help your body fight free radicals. Free radicals occur because of various stressors on the body, including inhaling air pollution and being exposed to UV rays. A buildup of free radicals over time can cause “oxidative stress,” which is damage to your cells on a molecular level.
Although your body can make its own antioxidants, a diet rich in plant-based food provides more antioxidants, as well as the necessary vitamins and minerals to keep your body healthy and strong.
Oleuropein is what gives olive oil its flavor. This compound has been also found to be highly bioavailable—which means it’s easily absorbed and utilized by your body. Oleuropein is a powerful antioxidant, but also has antimicrobial, anti-inflammation, anti-aging, and antiviral properties.
Another important antioxidant compound found in Olive Leaf Extract is Hydroxytyrosol. It’s a well-studied ingredient that has long been found to have health and wellness benefits. Hydroxytyrosol has been shown to support heart health by combating plaque buildup in the arteries, as well as fighting inflammatory free radical reactions with cholesterol.
Good For You, Good For the Planet
Not only is Olive Leaf Extract good for people, it’s also good for the environment. For companies who grow and produce olive oil, the leaves are often thrown away as agricultural waste. In large amounts, this waste can have deleterious effects on the ecosystem. By utilizing the leaves to make extract, much of this waste is eliminated.
Scientists are also looking at ways to utilize all parts of the olive—from the skin to the seed. More studies are needed, but there’s good evidence for health benefits from all parts of the olive.
Where to Find Olive Leaf Extract
You can find Olive Leaf Extract on its own in a liquid or powder, or it can also be an ingredient in other health and wellness supplements. If you’re interested in putting it into your wellness routine, look for a supplement that includes at least 100mgs of Olive Leaf Extract. Once you’re taking the supplement, give it at least 6 weeks of consistent use in order to feel the benefits.