Olive oil is the primary source of added fat in the Mediterranean diet. In general, this diet is correlated with the prevention of many degenarative diseases and extended life longevity.
Olive oil is rich in various bioactive compounds such as oleanolic acid, oleuropein, oleocanthal and hydroxytyrosol which is known for its anti-inflammatory as well as cardioprotective properties. Furthermore, olive oil provides monounsaturated fat, which lowers total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (or “bad”) cholesterol levels. Various studies have indicated that phytochemicals presented in olive oil are a potential candidate to act against SARS-CoV-2. The consumption of olive oil was found to be beneficial for chronic non-communicable diseases (1).
The oleocanthal concentration in Extra Virgin olive oil (EVOO) can vary from as little as 0.2 mg/kg to as high as 498 mg/kg. Such high variation may due to several factors, including the method of phenolic extraction and quantification, geographic region of olive growth, olive tree cultivar, agricultural techniques applied to cultivate olives, olive maturity, processing of the olives to oil, storage of oil, and domestic heat application to oil.
Although, most of the olive oil phenolic compounds are degraded upon heating during cooking, it was verified that oleocanthal is relatively stable upon heating when it is initially present in a considerable amount in EVOO. Various studies in vivo and in vitro have demonstrated that the EVOO oleocanthal positively alters inflammation and oxidative stress and has beneficial effects on markers of neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and rheumatic pathologies. Those evidences agree with the hypothesis that a lower incidence of inflammatory-related diseases among the Mediterranean population is partly due to the consumption of EVOO and a lower intake of pro-inflammatory animal-derived fats (2).
Daily uptake of olive oil should be monitored as excessive intake that can cause body weight gain and a change in the basal metabolic index. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority consuming around 20 grams (g) or two tablespoons (tbs) of EVOO each day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and inflammation.
Taken the above into consideration, extra virgin olive oil provides protection against SARS-CoV-2, when the polyphenol substances are protected during processing and produced oil is extracted with simple means (3).
(3): Majumder Debabrata , Debnath Mousumi *, Sharma Nayan Kamal , Shekhawat Singh Surinder , Prasad G.B.K.S , Maiti Debasish and Ramakrishna Seeram , Olive Oil Consumption can Prevent Non-communicable Diseases and COVID-19: A Review, Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology 2022; 23(2) . https://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1389201022666210412143553