Saturday, November 29, 2014

Olive Leaf Extract: A Plant That Fights Viruses

Olive Tree

We know how important gut health is. When our gut is good, so is our health. Eating grass fed yogurt, sourdough bread, and fermented food are some ways to increase our probiotic intake. For a person like me who did not grow up eating fermented food or even yogurt, it is harder to keep up with probiotic consumption. The latest one I tried was water kefir and milk kefir. They are naturally rich in probiotics, easy to make, and very cost friendly. But another problem with water kefir is that it contains a small amount of alcohol, which I'm also not used to consuming (and now that I'm pregnant, I have stopped making and drinking it) and milk kefir is more sour than plain yogurt, which makes it even harder for me to swallow than a regular grass fed yogurt that I'm already not used to. So what am I trying to say?

I am not good in consuming probiotic rich food and I have just been reminded that gut health is crucial for a healthy body. So I need to consume more probiotics in my diet. If I do not enjoy eating yogurt or don't eat as much fermented food as I should, I have to find something else that works. I figure it's better to pay for something that I will actually eat and want to eat, because our health is important and prevention is always better than cure. Allergies, morning sickness, colds and flu, constipation, and even bad breath are symptoms that you are lacking good bacteria in your body. 

Then I found olive leaf extract.

Olive Leaves

Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract has been used since the ancient Egyptian times for rituals, nutritional, and medicinal purposes. In Mediterranean cultures, olive leaf was used to treat various health conditions, uncluding infections and fever. (Oh, the moment I learned this natural remedy was used to treat fever, I got myself a bottle because any parents would know how hard it is to treat fever naturally. Early researchers have found and confirmed that a substance found in olive leaf called elenolic acid was so powerful in stopping and slowing the growth of viruses. Olive leaf extract:

- Has antibacterial and antiviral properties that fights viruses and infections
- Reduces high blood pressure (fights hypertension/high blood pressure)
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels (possible ramifications for diabetes sufferers)
- A powerful antioxidant that protects us from free radicals 

The brand that I have tried is by Rochway. Their olive leaf extract is naturally fermented, 100% organic and contains 1% sugar from natural fruits. Fermentation allows beneficial enzymes to be produced and it helps our body to absorb nutrients more efficiently from our food. And the fermentation process creates lactic acids which act as a natural preservative. So this is a good probiotic alternative for me personally. It tastes mildly sweet, my two year old doesn't have trouble drinking it. Serving size for daily maintenance is small and it is very easy to take. If you feel that you lack probiotics in your diet, maybe it is worth a try. iHerb sells different brands of olive leaf extracts but I haven't researched the brands they carry. I bought mine from Bud of Joy (This particular formulation includes papaya enzymes and pomegranates - read about the benefits of fermented papaya and pomegranates here). 

A note on olive leaf extract: 
Although the benefits of this plant seems promising, its medical evidence on humans are still inconclusive and researchers are now taking another serious look at olive leaf extract. Until then, we need to remember that just like with any other health supplements, olive leaf extract should be a part of a holistic health plan that includes a healthy diet and exercise.

Disclaimer: I'm not an affiliate of Rochway and did not receive anything to promote their products. I'm also not a health professional and may not be held responsible for any medical issues. Please consult your doctors if you are unsure about taking this supplement.

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