January 30, 2020

Olive Oil and Oxidative Stress

Healthy mind and body, Olive Oil, Oxidative stress

Oxidation is a process that occurs continuously within our bodies. The result of this is the formation of free radicals, that is, very unstable molecules that can easily react with other molecules. In general, free radicals do not cause serious damage thanks to the protection provided by antioxidants by binding with them and making them more stable.

If for any reason the balance between free radicals and antioxidants is disturbed, so-called oxidative stress occurs, which leads to the deterioration of normal cellular functions. In fact, oxidative stress has been linked to the development of various diseases such as cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and cancer.

From all this it follows that if we provide the body with more antioxidants, oxidative stress will be reduced and therefore damage to organs and tissues as well. Olive oil is the main source of fats in the Mediterranean diet that has proven effective against diseases associated with oxidative stress and aging.

Why does olive oil protect us from oxidative stress?

Cell membranes contain a large amount of fat and cholesterol and their composition depends on the diet. If the diet contains a lot of olive oil, the cells are more resistant to oxidation, do not deteriorate so much and the aging or degradation of the cells is slower.

What antioxidants are in olive oil?

The main antioxidants that we can find in olive oil are vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), carotenoids and phenolic compounds (such as hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein and oleocanthal).

Phenolic compounds have innumerable biological properties, among them, they are primarily responsible for antioxidant activity and resistance to oxidative stress in addition to exerting other positive impacts on health. Oleocanthal, on the other hand, also has a prominent anti-inflammatory activity.

Vitamin E, meanwhile, is essential in the diet of dogs because in addition to eliminating free radicals it maintains the integrity of the skin and makes the coat look healthy and shiny.

Oxidative stress in dogs

As with people, in dogs certain diseases such as diabetes or heart problems cause oxygenation and cellular metabolism to not work properly, which leads to the production of large amounts of free radicals. Although medical treatments can delay the evolution of these diseases, it is true that well-adapted nutrition is essential to improve the welfare and life expectancy of these animals. In this sense, the Mediterranean diet and specifically virgin olive oil, are particularly rich in antioxidant substances, so their integration into dog food protects against the damage that free radicals can exert.

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