What is arthritis?
The word arthritis is a combination of two words: arthron and itis. Arthron is a Greek word which means joint and itis is a Latin word which means inflammation, so arthritis simply means joint inflammation. According to Medical News Today, it is not one or a single disease rather it is a term which refers to more than 100 medical conditions. Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Infectious arthritis (septic arthritic) and Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis are the most common types. Nearly 46 million people suffer from arthritis in the USA, 10 million in the UK, whereas the number of arthritis patients in the world is estimated to be around 350 million.
Extra virgin olive oil which is fresh and obtained from good quality olive fruit through cold pressing and mechanical means have a taste which is fruity and bitter. A common indicator of the quality is to test its taste. Good quality olive oil have bitterness and when swallowed feels peppery in the throat. Dr Gary Beauchamp of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found that the ticklish and peppery sensation of the oil was like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Further investigation revealed that Olive Oil contains a compound called oleocanthal and it helps to prevent CoX-1 and COX-2. These are pro-inflammatory enzymes and Oleocanthal works on them in the same way other Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such ibuprofen and aspirin. It is also interesting to note that oleocanthol do not have the same chemical structure as ibuprofen and aspirin yet they cause the same stinging sensation in the throat.
Recent reports have confirmed that olive oil contains compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds can dampen or switch off 100 inflammation causing genes. According to a study led by Dr Francisco Perez-Jimenez, University of Cordoba, 98 genes could be involved in pro-inflammatory activity. Omega-6 fats in olive oil are known to work effectively against conditions such as arthritis.
In a study patients who suffered from arthritis were given 4 teaspoons of olive oil per day for 12 weeks. It was found that the patients had significant reduction in pain and stiffness. Mediterranean diet has also been found to reduce the symptoms of inflammation. Among other fruit and vegetables Mediterranean diet is high in olive oil. Some reports mention that it is healthier to eat olive oil than Ibuprofen or aspirin as the latter may cause damage to kidneys and the stomach. Inhibition of inflammation by oleocanthos may also prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in a similar but healthier way than aspirin.
Nature, the International Weekly Journal of Science, published an article titled “Phytochemistry: Ibuprofen like activity in extra virgin olive oil”. The authors opined that oleocanthal, the pungent component in olive oil, shared a striking pharmacological activity with Ibuprofen. Although, both are structurally dissimilar, they have similar potency and profile.
In a study published by PubMed (Us National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health) it was investigated to find the effects of fish and olive oils in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The patients were divided into three separate groups. The first group was given Soy Oil; the second group received fish oil omega-3 fatty acids while the third group was given a combination of fish omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil. The researchers concluded that fish oil omega-3 fatty acids on its own improved the conditions, but the combination of Olive Oil with fish omega-3 fatty acids had an earlier, unusual, more noticeable and prominent improvement in the conditions of the patients.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been known for its beneficial effects and help to reduce inflammation. The American Diabetes Association recommends eating food that contains omega-3. Olive contains omega-3 acids and consumed in appropriate amount may cause the reduction of arthritic symptoms.
People who suffer from arthritis have reported that they find it soothing with a careful and gently application of olive oil. Some patients have claimed to have to relief from the pain after using the oil for around a week on daily basis.
Which oil to choose?
The best of all olive oil is the cold pressed, mechanical extra virgin oil from the first press. It is extracted from the fruit mechanically without applying high heat. Experts believe that chemical extraction or high heat methods causes the loss of micro-nutrients in oil. It is, therefore, recommended to use only extra virgin fresh olive oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are not affected by heating or refinement.
How should I take olive oil?
There are so many ways and recipes to consume olive oil. It is important to keep it in mind that it is healthy but very high in calories. It is not good to add to it the fats you are already getting from other sources. Best way is to replace bad fats with olive oil. This way you get the essential healthy fats and scores of other health benefits at the same time. Adding it to your cooking, salads, vegetables and any other diet is a great way to reap its real benefits.
How to prepare a homemade paste for soothing painful joints?
When the joints become red, hot, sensitive and swollen, it causes great pain. When you have flare-ups, you can make a homemade paste which can be used a home remedy for easing the arthritis pain. Here is a step by step instruction.
- Take some pumpkin leaves and crush them. Fresh and dried leaves both work but fresh are better than the dried ones.
- Take some extra virgin olive oil in a little container.
- Put the crushed leaves in the container and leave for a few minutes.
- Once the crushed leaves are soaked well, mix them well till the oil and the leaves become a homogenous oily paste.
- Massage the painful joints with the paste gently twice a day.
- Make sure you massage the joints gently and carefully.
- Repeat the process for around 7 to 10 days.
- Once you see the benefits, continue it occasionally.
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