Extra virgin olive oil could help prevent and treat Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections, which cause millions of cases of gastritis and peptic ulcer disease each year.
Previous studies have shown that natural foods such as green tea and cranberry juice inhibit the growth of H. pylori infections in the stomach lining. This is the first time that olive oil has been looked at in this context.
In laboratory cultures, the phenolic compounds in extra virgin olive oil had strong antibacterial effects against eight strains of H. pylori, including antibiotic-resistant strains. The compounds were also shown to be capable of remaining stable in the harsh acidic conditions of the stomach.