ANTI-INFLAMmATORy properties of OLIVe oil
The Mediterranean diet is one of the most healthy diest in the world, this is an unquestionable fact supported by a number of medical studies. What certainly is a surprising fact is that one of its base ingredients, extra virgin olive oil, contains certain natural chemicals that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the human body.
American reserachers have shown that extra virgin olive oil has a compound that has been christened oleocanthal, which, according to their research, inhibits the enzyme activity of cyclooxygenase (COX), a pharmacological action of ibuprofen.
Extra virgin olive oil, a gift from the gods.
The author of this great finding was Dr Beauchamp, a biologist from the Monell Centre of Investigation in Pennsylvania (USA), in a conference on gastronomy in Sicily, Beauchamp realised that extra virgin olive oil produced a very slight irritation in the throat, similar to that produced by ibuprofen on being consumed. The scientist had already worked in this sense with this well known pharamaceutical product.
Gary Beauchamp, together with a group of scientists, set to work isolating the chemical compound that produced the irritation. They named it oleocanthal and found that, just like aspirin and ibuprofen, it is capable of inhibiting the activity of enzymes COX-1 and COX-2, in that they produce the action of non-steroid anti-inflammatory medication.
50 grams of extra virgin olive oil, corresponds to a dose of 9 mg. of ibuprofen. Although this quantity does not reach even 10% of the dose normally used as an analgesic, it can be responsible for just some of the beneficial effects on our health attributed to diets based in olive oil. In the final analysis, the authors argue, "the cardiovascular benefits of aspirin are also obtained with very small doses."