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 NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, during previous sensory studies. Beauchamp detected a connection between the olive oil and inflammation.
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 ibuprofen works.
“By inhibiting these enzymes, inflammation and the increase in pain sensitivity ...more