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Here are some wellness tips on Olive Oil and the Immune System

What is the immune system?

The immune system defends the body against invasion by foreign substances (toxins, microorganisms, parasites, tumor processes, etc.) by coordinating specific and non-specific mechanisms.

The non-specific or innate defenses are the front-line protection against microorganisms. They are made up of the skin, mucous membranes, the complement system (the complement, a group of some 20 proteins manufactured in the liver, helps to destroy micro-organisms) hormonal factors, etc. and their action is not affected by prior contact with the foreign substance.

Specific mechanisms occur following exposure to the substance and they require the involvement of the B-lymphocytes (humoral system) and the T-lymphocytes (cell system).

Innate immunity responds in a similar way to the majority of microbes whereas the specific immune response varies according to the type of microorganism in order to eliminate it as effectively as possible.

Olive oil and the immune system

It has been documented that olive oil intake bolsters the immune system against external attacks from microorganisms, bacteria or viruses.

It has been known for some time that mineral and vitamin deficiencies can have an adverse effect on the immune system.

Recent research has concluded that the fatty acids in the make-up of olive oil are good allies in lowering important immunological parameters such as the proliferation of lymphocytes induced by specific mitogens of both B- and T-cells.

These fatty acids have been reported to play an important part in various immune functions. They are involved in regulating inflammatory processes and they may be effective in the treatment of some autoimmune diseases and in the regulation of the immune system in general.

Nowadays, it is clear that an unhealthy diet is one of the prime factors that contributes to the rise of inflammatory diseases and autoimmunity in the populations of both developed and developing countries. The Mediterranean diet has been associated with a reduced incidence of certain pathologies related to chronic inflammation and the immune system. Olive oil, the principal source of dietary lipids of the Mediterranean diet, possesses a high nutritional quality and a particular composition, which is especially relevant in the case of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO).

EVOO is obtained from olives solely by mechanical or other physical preparation methods, under conditions that do not alter the natural composition. EVOO is described as a key bioactive food with multiple beneficial properties and it may be effective in the management of some immune-inflammatory diseases. In this review, the key research is summarized which provides evidence of the beneficial effects of EVOO and its minor components focusing on their mechanisms on immune-inflammatory diseases.

Treat your Ailments with traditional treatments passed down through generations:

1. Sore Throat Remedy:

  • In a pan, mix 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 cup of honey and ½ cup extra virgin olive oil.
  • Warm for 5 minutes over low heat on a stovetop.
  • Take 1 tablespoon every 2 hours, as needed.

2. Quiet That Cough

Whether you have an irritating tickle in your throat or a full cough, extra virgin olive oil is your best friend. Keep a flask handy and take a sip of olive oil throughout the day.

3. Soothe an Ear Ache

As many of you read this article, you may remember your mother putting warm olive oil in your ears when you were a child to help with earaches. This natural oil soothes the pain.

  • Put a few drops of warm olive oil in the affected ear.
  • Lie down on your side (with the affected ear facing up) for a few minutes with your head on a terry cloth towel.
  • Then turn over on your other side so that the olive oil can seep out again onto the towel.
  • Caution: Never put anything liquid in your ear if you think there is any chance at all that you may have a perforated eardrum. Check with your doctor immediately.

4. Make Your Own Vapor Rub

Mix two drops of eucalyptus oil into one teaspoon of olive oil and massage on the chest or back to relieve congestion.

5. Get Pain Relief

Extra virgin olive oil is a natural pain-killer because it contains the compound oleocanthal. According to scientists from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and published in an article in Nature, oleocanthal acts in the same pain-relieving way as aspirin or ibuprofen.

Of course, even better than treating a cold is preventing a cold. Good nutrition plays a key role in keeping the immune system healthy. Making extra virgin olive oil, rich in vitamin E, a mainstay of your healthy diet helps reduce the risk of upper respiratory infections like the common cold.

As we begin to understand the science behind many natural remedies, including olive oil, we will have a new understanding of what others have known for thousands of years. And more people will come to believe, as I do, that extra virgin olive oil belongs not just in the kitchen cabinet, but in the medicine cabinet as well.


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