Natural compounds in olive oil contain pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory properties that are believed to heal the effects of arthritis such as joint pain. Studies have shown olive oil can prevent inflammatory enzymes much the way medication such as ibuprofen works, the Arthritis Foundation reported
Research revealed that the compound oleocanthal, found in olive oil, prevents the production of enzymes that cause inflammation. Studies indicated the compound significantly eases chronic and acute inflammation.
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The Arthritis Foundation article noted that Dr. Gary Beauchamp, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, had noticed “a ticklish, peppery sensation” to the back of the throat when tasting extra virgin olive oil. The sensation was similar to the taste of liquid forms of ibuprofen and aspirin. Subsequent studies have linked the effectiveness of olive oil against inflammation.
“Some of the health-related effects of the Mediterranean diet may be due to the activity of oleocanthal from premium olive oils,” Beauchamp said, according to a 2005 article in The Telegraph
. The Mediterranean diet includes olive oil as a source of fat along with vegetables, whole grains and fish. It has long been associated with preventing heart disease. Inflammation may play a key role in a variety of chronic diseases in the body.
Researchers in Spain found that the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil reduced joint edema, cell migration, cartilage degradation and bone erosion in mice induced with rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study published in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
. The researchers reported that polyphenol extract decreased factors leading to the arthritic process.
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The Arthritis Foundation reported
that 3 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil equals a 200-mg tablet of ibuprofen, which is used to control inflammation and pain. Although side effects could occur after using olive oil for more than 10 days, extra virgin olive oil contains more of the essential oleocanthal compounds than other olive oils to lessen the amount a person needs.
WebMD recommended choosing extra virgin olive oil
, which is the result of the first pressing of olives and has the highest content of nutrients, to reduce inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis.
Extra virgin olive oil can be used on salads or pastas and used in marinades or sauces for fish, meat, poultry and vegetables, according to Health Monitor.
Virgin olive oil comes from the second pressing and can be used for cooking and on salads and veggies. Pure olive oil and olive oil contain fewer nutrients than extra virgin or virgin oil, but also flavor foods through sautéing, searing and pan-frying.
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