The gut microbiome and how the “good” and “bad” bacteria within it live in harmony is a burgeoning topic of interest in science. From what we do know, a healthy gut improves your immune system, protects you from heart disease, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and cancer, and also has a role to play in your mood. Per a 2018 study published in the journal Food and Function, the plant compounds — polyphenols — found in extra virgin olive oil are directly metabolized in your system. As quoted in the study, “EVOOP (Extra virgin olive oil polyphenols) might influence the composition of the microbiota also inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria”. This favorable shift could positively influence your immune system health and reduce inflammation too (via Everyday Health). A 2021 study published in Nutrition Reviews found similar results.
Olive oil’s phenolic compounds have been linked with altering gut microbiota in such a way that it aids a person’s immunity, weight loss efforts, and cholesterol health, according to a 2020 study published in the journal Nutrients.
“When people talk about gut health and the gut microbiome, it seems like there are some components in olive oil that actually are beneficial when we’re thinking about [gastrointestinal] health, and that they help to actually enhance and stimulate the diversity of the bacteria that’s in the gut and especially the good bugs that are in the gut,” explained registered dietitian, Maya Feller (via Good Morning America).