Olive oil, as a healthy edible fat, has many benefits for people with vitiligo, thanks to its healthy fatty acids and antioxidants content. You should replace unhealthy saturated fats, such as butter and vegetable oils, with extra virgin olive oil for better gut health and immune system.
Olive oil is a staple food in the Mediterranean diet, the world’s healthiest diet. (1) The Mediterranean diet, also known as heart and brain healthy diet is mainly focused on plant based foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and olive oil with moderate consumption of animal protein in the form of fish and poultry. The red meat, saturated fat, refined sugar and salt consumption is limited. (2, 3) On the contrary, the modern day American diet is full of saturated and trans fats, refined sugar, salt, animal proteins and highly processed foods.
100 grams of Olive oil provides (4):
- 93% of daily requirement of Vitamin E
- 57% of daily requirement of Vitamin K
- 73 grams of Monounsaturated fats
- 11 grams of Polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids)
- 14 grams of saturated fats
- 20 to 50 mg of polyphenols (antioxidants)
Loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats (73 grams per 100 grams of olive oil) and antioxidants, olive oil has protective action against chronic health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and different types of cancer. (5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Benefits of Olive oil for Vitiligo
- Anti-inflammatory– In case of vitiligo, the faulty immune system fuels inflammatory reactions in the body to attack the pigment producing skin cells. The antioxidants in olive oil can counter this inflammatory response. Oleocanthal, a type of antioxidant in Olive oil, mimics the anti-inflammatory effects of ibuprofen. Oleic acid, the main fatty acid in Olive oil, is also effective in reducing inflammatory markers. Some research studies estimate that 50 ml (3 and 1/2 tablespoon) of extra virgin olive oil is as effective pain killer as 1/10th dose of ibuprofen. (10, 11, 12)
- Promotes digestion– More than 70% of the entire immune system is situated in the gut. (13) So, autoimmunity can be reversed only by fixing the gut issues. A healthy gut health implies a calm, regulated immune system. Olive oil is a mild laxative. One tablespoon (13.5 ml) of extra virgin olive oil everyday can help with cleansing of the whole digestive tract to promote body (and blood) detox and reducing gut inflammation. Due to high monounsaturated fat content, it is easily absorbed by the gut and encourages peptides production to help with digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Weight management– Obesity is a well know trigger for all autoimmune health challenges, including vitiligo. (14) It has become a modern day epidemic, mainly due to stressful, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet. Generally, eating fats in excess is associated with obesity. But, it doesn’t stand true in case of olive oil. A research study concluded that eating up to 46 grams per day of olive oil doesn’t increase the risk of obesity. (15) In fact, the Mediterranean diet based on olive oil as the principle fat helps with weight management. (16, 17)
What is Extra Virgin Olive oil?
Extra virgin olive oil is extracted from the first pressing of olive tree fruits, without using any external heat or chemicals. Thus, it is the raw, purest form of olive oil with highest antioxidant content.
Among other varieties, virgin olive oil is extracted by second pressing- that is, pressing the leftover olive pulps after first pressing. Hence, less antioxidant content and inferior quality than the extra virgin olive oil.
The ‘light’ and ‘refined’ olive oil varieties are further low-grade and prepared by mixing pure olive oil with cheaper oils such as soybean and canola.
How to consume Olive oil for Vitiligo?
- Eat it raw– Use extra virgin olive oil as salad dressing, drizzling it over your bread, sandwich and paste, or add it to your soup. Consume it raw; this is the best way of consuming extra virgin olive oil and enjoy all the health benefits.
- As cooking oil– Extra virgin olive oil is a costly option and its stability to high temperature heat is a matter of debate. (18) Thus, you may use extra virgin olive oil for low to medium heat cooking, but, avoid deep frying. For high temperature cooking, use cheaper varieties such as ‘light’ olive oil or ‘extra light’ olive oil.
How much Extra virgin olive oil per day?
The US FDA suggests up to 2 tablespoons (27 ml) of extra virgin olive oil everyday for reduced risk of heart ailments and overall health. (19)
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil = 13.5 ml
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil – 4.5 ml
External application of Olive oil on Vitiligo lesions?
In recent years, olive oil has become a popular ingredient in various skin care products due to its rich monounsaturated fats and vitamin E content along with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It hydrates your skin and helps fight skin-ageing symptoms.
In case of vitiligo, it may help you out with itching and burning sensation symptoms when you go out in the Sun. Apart from that, I am not sure if olive oil application on vitiligo patches will bring any remarkable difference because vitiligo is basically an immune system related skin challenge and actual healing lies in the gut.
How to choose the best olive oil?
Extra virgin olive oil is expensive in comparison to other edible fats and oils in the market. Hence, consider below checklist before choosing the best extra virgin olive oil available to you:
- Expiry date– The polyphenols (antioxidant) content in olive oil reduces with time. Thus, buy extra virgin olive oil with expiry date at least one year away.
- Packaging– The olive oil container should not be transparent, but, opaque, such as dark glass or tin. It would help prevent oxidative damage (damage due to reaction with oxygen).
- Color– It can be golden color or light or medium green. The color of the oil may vary as per variety of olives.
- Taste and Aroma– Fresh olive oil should taste fruity, spicy and bitter. It should not taste like vinegar.
From where to buy?
Check below Amazon links to buy cold pressed extra virgin olive oil of a reputed brand.
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