It’s been known for a fact that a Mediterranean diet—lots of vegetables, fish, nuts and whole grains—is loaded with anti-inflammatory ingredients. But the key player here is Olive Oil, as this healthy fat can inhibit pro-inflammatory enzymes associated with arthritis pain.
In a study led by Pennsylvania biologist Dr. Gary Beauchamp, it was found that extra-virgin olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen and aspirin. While tasting extra-virgin olive oils in Sicily, Gary Beauchamp, PhD, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, noticed a ticklish, peppery sensation in the back of his throat. It was nearly identical to the “sting” he’d felt when swallowing a liquid form of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, during previous sensory studies. Beauchamp detected a connection between olive oil and inflammation.
Oleocanthal – a natural NSAID
Further studies revealed that a compound in the oil, called oleocanthal, prevents the production of pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes – the same way NSAIDs work.
“By inhibiting these enzymes, inflammation and the increase in pain sensitivity associated with them is dampened,” says Dr Paul Breslin, who directed the research with Beauchamp. Researchers found the intensity of the “throaty bite” in an oil is directly related to the amount of oleocanthal it contains. “Stronger-flavored oils from Tuscany or other regions that use the same olive varietal, have the highest oleocanthal levels,” says Breslin.
The best way to check your olive oil for oleocanthal content is to sip the oil neat and see how strongly it stings the back of the throat, recommends Breslin. “The greater the sting, the greater the oleocanthal content.”
Regarding the amount and dosage for effectiveness, researchers say that 50 milliliters (ml), which is about 3-1/2 Tbsp., is equal to a 200-mg tablet of ibuprofen. Breslin points out that, that amount of oil has more than 400 calories – a lot if you add this healthy fat without giving up others. To avoid excess calories, they recommend using extra-virgin olive oil in lieu of other fats, such as butter.
This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.More
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