October 15, 2020

Olive Oil antioxidants in the immune system

Olive Oil, Oxidative stress

Pets are an integral part of family life and have lots in common with their human companions. As they get older, pets can experience some age-related health issues that may be connected to oxidative stress.

This phenomenon is triggered when the animal’s body doesn’t have enough antioxidants to neutralise free radicals. This excess of free radicals can cause cell and/or tissue damage and is related to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, to name just a few.

The body produces free radicals during its normal metabolic processes. However, several factors can exacerbate oxidative stress. These are diet, lifestyle, physical injury, or environmental conditions such as pollution, noise, and crowds.

Urban factors

Pollution, noise and crowds are more prevalent in the city than in the country and are a stress-inducing factor. Therefore, if you live in a large city, you and your pets are more exposed to conditions that are likely to cause oxidative stress than anyone who lives in a rural area.

There are five urban factors related to the triggering of an inflammatory response and the consequent oxidative stress: chemical, noise and light pollution; infectious diseases; and the quality of diet.

Anti-inflammatory food

Many fruits and vegetables contain a series of phytochemicals known as phenolics. These includes flavonoids, such as anthocyanins. Phytochemicals have a complex molecular structure that allows them to bind to free radicals, thereby protecting the body’s metabolic systems.

The Mediterranean diet is renowned for including, among other ingredients, plenty of fruits and vegetables. Some of the fruits recommended by experts for their anti-inflammatory properties are apples, mangoes, melons and berries, particularly blueberries. Vegetables like pumpkins, potatoes and carrots can also fight inflammation thanks to their beta-carotene content.

Liquid gold

Olive oil contains antioxidant substances such as tocopherols (Vitamin E) and phenols, in addition to oleic acid, so including it in your four-legged friend’s diet provides countless benefits.

Studies have shown that including olive oil in the diet helps their immune system in several ways:

  • It increases the cells involved in their body’s defence system.
  • It provides greater resistance to pathogens, thereby ensuring better protection against viruses, bacteria and parasites.

Inflammation is the first line of defence to combat a harmful stimulus. Triggers of an inflammatory response can range from physical wounds, such as cuts or bumps, to infections or pollution. When the inflammatory response is triggered, the production of free radicals increases, which in turn causes oxidative stress.

Various studies carried out by cardiologists, endocrinologists and nutritionists have underlined the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. These benefits were highlighted in an international report on the Mediterranean diet and fat intake, published on 15 January 2000. In the study, European and American experts agreed on a fundamental principle: “it is not the amount of fat ingested that matters, but the type of fat“.

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