For years olive oil has been touted as a healthy ingredient in many recipes. It is high in beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids and anti-oxidative substances. Now, new research from the University of Pennsylvania suggests that eating olive oil can also help relieve inflammation and pain.
Researchers began taking a new look at olive oil after attending a science meeting in Sicily, Italy. They noticed that the slight stinging sensation in the throat when swallowing extra-virgin olive oil was similar to the sensation when swallowing ibuprofen. Curious, the researchers extracted the chemical responsible for the sensation (oleocanthal) and found that it reacted in the body in a similar way as ibuprofen. The Mediterranean diet high in olive oil is known to prevent many health problems, such as stroke, heart disease, and cancer. This research suggests part of the reason may be because of oleocanthal acting as an anti-inflammatory chemical in the body.
For more information on this research, go to Science Daily.
Photo courtesy of Oregon State University.
Article published on October 17, 2005.