This humble leaf can have profound benefits for your health. Many of you are familiar with olive leaf or olive leaf extract (OLE), because olive leaf extract has been a favorite recommendation of Doug Kaufmann’s for some time now. But just what is OLE, what is in it, and why should you consider taking it?
Olive leaf is simply the leaf of the olive tree. Olives, of course, are used to make olive oil and are a delicious source of healthy fats and nutrients on their own. But what is it about the leaves that is appealing as opposed to olives of olive oil?
Olive leaves have been used medicinally since antiquity, and it turns out that the leaves themselves are more concentrated in certain beneficial nutrients than the olive fruit or olive oil. Olive leaves have a concentration of phenolics over thirteen times higher than olives and over sixty times higher than olive oil. These phenolics include oleuropein and other polyphenols and flavonoids, and many of these are known to have health-promoting qualities in these concentrations.
This is not to say that olives and olive oil are not healthy or rich in nutrition; both are rich in the beneficial fats that are likely responsible for some of their health benefits, and both are foods you can and should include in your Kaufmann Diet. Olive leaf, however, is simply far more concentrated in other possibly beneficial compounds like oleuropein; this simply makes olive leaf a valuable addition to your regimen.
Unlike olive oil or olives, olive leaves are typically used as a supplement instead of being eaten. Pure olive leaf consists of the whole leaf being ground and encapsulated. This is a perfectly good way to include olive leaf into your regimen, and there are many good products to this end. However, many supplement companies choose to extract and concentrate the active component, oleuropein, instead of just selling whole olive leaf supplements. This might be beneficial for getting the maximum effect of oleuropein.
Olive leaf is also sold in other forms, such as teas and topical products.
The Benefits of Olive Leaf
Although many of the benefits of olive leaf extract remain unconfirmed, many studies in humans are showing exciting promise for some of the benefits of olive leaf. Most studies focus on olive leaf extract, which is higher in oleuropein, but this is not to say that whole olive leaf is necessarily without benefits.
Regardless, olive leaf has been shown to possibly have a number of benefits; it is something you should certainly consider adding to your Kaufmann Diet regimen and can easily be incorporated. Olive leaf and olive leaf extract can easily be found at your local health food store.
**Olive leaf can interfere with certain medications, so always check with your licensed health care professional before taking olive leaf or any other supplement.**
Heart Health Benefits
Among the exciting benefits of olive leaf are the benefits for heart health. Olive leaf might be particularly useful for lowering blood pressure––a major factor in heart disease. Some studies found that that olive leaf extract performed virtually as well when compared to a popular prescription blood pressure medication. Furthermore, when olive leaf extract was compared to a placebo, blood pressure levels were remarkably better in the group given the olive leaf extract.
While blood pressure is an important marker, olive leaf may have other benfits for hearth health, as well; it may also be beneficial for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides and has shown some use in preventing the formation of plaques in the arteries that can lead to stroke or heart attack.
Ultimately, for those concerned about heart health, olive leaf extract is a powerful supplement to keep regularly take.
Benefits Against Diabetes
Olive leaf has been shown to protect against diabetes in a number of ways. Olive leaf slows the breakdown of starch into simple sugars, slowing the resulting spike in insulin. Simultaneously, olive leaf also slows the absorption of sugar from the intestine, further reducing the spike in insulin levels. Olive leaf extract also improves the uptake of glucose into tissue (improved insulin resistance). In one study, olive leaf performed as well as diabetes medication at improving insulin levels.
In a study in rats, subjects were fed a high fat, high carb diet, and all subjects ultimately showed signs of metabolic disease, including weight (fat) gain, high blood pressure and elevated insulin levels. Rats give olive leaf were shown to improve all the metabolic factors associated with metabolic disease, and some symptoms actually normalized entirely.
Olive Leaf has Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties
Olive leaf’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties likely lend it many of its beneficial properties. These properties might lead olive leaf to have benefits against a wide range of diseases. One of these diseases is cancer, including cancers of the blood, brain, breast, head, liver, neck, prostate and skin. Olive leaf’s antioxidant properties help prevent many kinds of oxidative damage that lead to cancer, and olive leaf’s anti-inflammatory properties disrupt many of the processes that promote cancer growth. Similarly, the inflammation thought to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of neuro-cognitive decline can be mitigated by olive leaf’s anti-inflammatory properties. Olive leaf’s anti-inflammatory properties may also be useful against painful conditions like gout, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Benefits for Weight Management and Metabolism
Olive leaf has shown some promise in being beneficial for weight management. A study in rats found that olive leaf supplementation lead to decreased fat in the group given OLE. Another study concluded that a compound in olive leaf known as oleanolic acid increased metabolism, thyroid function and ultimately improved energy levels.
Anti-Microbial and Anti-fungal Properties
Ultimately, the reason why olive leaf is recommended on the Kaufmann Diet is because it contains potent anti-fungal properties. Olive leaf is known to be beneficial against candida yeast and dermatophytes (skin dwelling fungus), but it is also beneficial against certain harmful bacteria and viruses. Olive leaf has been used in this regard for thousands of years, but modern research confirms that olive leaf is a powerful anti-microbial agent. For this reason, it is beneficial in aiding the immune system function and a must-have for flu season.
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