A little bit of EVOO goes a long way to nurture your gut bugs.
EVOO (or Extra Virgin Olive oil) has a great reputation for being full of antioxidants and giving you the most health benefits of any oils. But what does it do for your gut bugs?
You may have heard me talk about Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) before and how they are so great for your overall health. SCFAs are those amazing products produced by your gut bugs that can be very beneficial to your health. You may have heard of some of them, butyrate, acetate, succinate and propionate are the main ones.
EVOO benefits your lovely gut bus by reducing the abundance of pathogenic bacteria, stimulating the growth of good bacteria as well as increasing the production of those amazing SCFAs. SCFAs can help to decrease inflammation and change the expression of a variety of genes vis epigenetic mechanisms.
EVOO also positively influences the health of your mucosal lining of your large intestine (that’s the non-sexy name for your gut). EVOO supports your immune system and your gut microbiota homeostasis by:
-Encouraging the production of immunoglobulin A (IgA). IgA is your first line of defence in resisting infection and it can inhibit bacterial and viral adhesion to your epithelial cells. It can also neutralise toxins.
-Reducing inflammatory cytokine production.
-Encouraging the production and expression of cytokines and transcription factors involved in reducing inflammation and,
-Promoting immune tolerance in your intestine and protecting against oxidative injury in your intestine because of the antioxidant activity of the phenolic extracts found in EVOO.
So, how much a day should you be having to get these benefits?
This is still an area of research that is growing but so far it looks like doses of 40 and 50 g/day, (3 and 4 tablespoons), respectively might be a good place to start. This isn’t difficult if you cook with it and use it for salad dressing and in baking.
Luisi, M. L. E., Lucarini, L., Biffi, B., Rafanelli, E., Pietramellara, G., Durante, M., . . . Ceccherini, M. T. (2019). Effect of Mediterranean Diet Enriched in High Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil on Oxidative Stress, Inflammation and Gut Microbiota in Obese and Normal Weight Adult Subjects. Frontiers in pharmacology, 10, 1366. doi:10.3389/fphar.2019.01366
Millman, J. F., Okamoto, S., Teruya, T., Uema, T., Ikematsu, S., Shimabukuro, M., & Masuzaki, H. (2021). Extra-virgin olive oil and the gut-brain axis: influence on gut microbiota, mucosal immunity, and cardiometabolic and cognitive health. Nutr Rev. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuaa148