Gout and Olive Oil

Gout and Olive Oil

How important is olive oil in a gout diet?

The olive, one of the oldest foods known to man is thought to have originated in Crete between five to seven thousand years ago and also regarded as a symbol of peace and wisdom by the Greeks. Many civilizations have also used it not only for food but fuel, timber and medicine. Being a second generation Greek, I know pretty much everything about the Mediterranean diet (eating lots of produce, fish, nuts and whole grains) and the one key ingredient that appears in every dish is olive oil. It’s what makes the Mediterranean diet, it’s the yin and the yang, you can’t have one without the other. I remember how my grand-mother and mom would have family from our island ship us a couple of tins of olive oil every year, produced from their land and how fruity that olive oil was yet slightly bitter, then felt peppery in the throat once swallowed. That’s how you know if the olive oil is good. After all Greece is known world wide for producing some of the highest quality of olive oil including the strongest, so a quick tip is always look for an olive oil brand produced from Greece at the grocery store.

The benefits of olive oil

Olive oil is a strong anti-inflammatory which its’ compounds include at least nine different categories of polyphenols and more than twenty-four anti-inflammatory nutrients. These compounds can suppress or switch off up to 100 inflammation causing genes. Three quarters of olive oil is fat in the form of oleic acid, a monounsaturated, omega-9 fat, very simply, it’s very good for you! It is also a good source of vitamin E and also provides a great amount of the anti-oxidant beta-carotenes.

As little as 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil a day has shown significant anti-inflammatory benefits. We all know about that extra virgin olive oil greatly benefits the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, improves cognitive function, increases bone formation, has many anti-cancer benefits as well as arthritic benefits which does include gout. Olive leaves and their extracts can also be used, having similar nutrients. In the Mediterranean region it is considered a folk remedy for arthritis and gout. When I do blood tests at my doctor’s office, he always tells me how my HDL is so high and that he rarely sees that in other patients of his, credit that to my diet which is high in olive oil.

Use cold pressed extra virgin olive oil in all of your cooking and baking instead of vegetable oils, butter or shortening. Oils that have been heated at high temperatures (causing the loss of nutrients) or processing are not only not good for your health but turn stale causing the oil to become rancid, destroying vitamin E in your body which helps control uric acid levels.

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In this article from arthritistoday.org we see how a particular study has shown olive oil to reduce inflammation in arthritis patients.

“Further studies revealed that a compound in olive oil, called oleocanthal, prevents the production of pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, the same way NSAIDs work.

“By inhibiting these enzymes, inflammation and the increase in pain sensitivity associated with them is dampened,” says Paul Breslin, PhD, co-author of the study. Researchers found the intensity of the “throaty bite” in an oil is directly related to the amount of oleocanthal it contains. “Stronger-flavored oils from Tuscany or other regions that use the same olive varietal, have the highest oleocanthal levels,” says Breslin.

The olive oil inflammation study’s researchers say that 50 milliliters (ml), which is about 3-1/2 Tbsp., is equal to a 200-mg tablet of ibuprofen. Breslin points out that amount of oil has more than 400 calories – a lot if you add this healthy fat without giving up others. To avoid excess calories, use extra-virgin olive oil in lieu of other fats, such as butter.”[1]

Remember that Ibuprofen or aspirin can cause damage to your kidneys and your stomach, so olive oil is a healthier choice. Another study evaluated patients with rheumatoid arthritis, who were supplemented with olive oil and fish oil supplements. The study concluded that fish oil supplements alone didn’t improve the patients’ condition, that only if used in combination with olive oil did patients show a measurable improvement.

What type of olive oil do I buy?

Extra virgin olive oil may be the more expensive option but you will reap the most health benefits for your joints! Extra virgin means they result from the first pressing of the olives since the olives are physically pressed and not chemically processed preserving their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Watch out cause Europe monitors the use of “extra virgin” label and has strict regulations, unlike the US where the wording “extra virgin olive oil” does not guarantee that you are indeed getting extra virgin olive oil. Look for these acronyms either “COOC”, “A.O.C”, “D.O.P”, “D.P.O” or “D.O” on the bottle. Any of these acronyms or initials provides you with the assurance that the olive oil you are purchasing passed a quality assurance test. Another term to look out for is “cold pressed” which means minimal heating was involved when processing the olives to make to oil, this method provides the strongest nutrient composition. If you see the term “virgin olive oil”, it means the oil resulted from a second pressing of the olives. Avoid olive oils with the terms “pure olive oil”, “olive oil” and any other related term, these are lower quality products.

Store your olive oil in a cool, dark place, out of direct sunlight since the enemies of olive oil are air and sunlight which will cause the oil to lose its’ flavor and antioxidants. Use olive oil in your salad dressings, over vegetables, pasta, cook and bake with it but whatever you do, make sure not to fry with it. That is a big no-no, besides as a gout sufferer you should avoid fried food at all costs if you want to keep uric acid levels low.


[1] www.arthritistoday.org Olive Oil reduces inflammation written by Mary Margaret Chappell

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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  • Vanessa

    Reply Reply August 31, 2019

    I was recently in a olive oil specific store to buy some fun olive oil I was going to use with some brownie recipe, instead I was turned on to buying some healthy high polyphenol content EVOO. There was a warning that I don’t quite remember what the lady said. It was something like don’t take your shots of EVOO with fatty foods because it sticks to fatty foods? To be honest, I don’t quite remember all that she said… just key words here and there. Can you possibly clarify? The store I was at is not local to me, otherwise I would go back and just ask her. But you mention you know olive oil very well, I figure its just general information to you.

  • Benjamin Heath Taylor

    Reply Reply June 11, 2018

    Hmmmm I agree 100% with you, you should is the oil to finish off a meal as in salads, pasta etc. In saying that the people of Crete still in small amounts cook with it as well.

    You lose more nutrients when cooking with it but as for it having severe health risks is a big claim the are a lot of studies from universities that states that in their testing there were no adverse affects to health when using it when cooking on a pan. I’m sure there are a lot of studies that also say the opposite.

  • Lynn

    Reply Reply June 10, 2018

    How about a good virgin coconut oil? (which we buy at Healthy Traditions.) thanks

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply June 10, 2018

      Don’t believe claims on the Internet and elsewhere that coconut oil is good for you. It’s just another fad “du jour”. Coconut oil is bad news for your LDL cholesterol, heart, and overall health. For the health of your heart, lowering your LDL cholesterol is the single most important thing to do. The fat in coconut oil is 92% saturated fat. So coconut oil raises LDL cholesterol as much or more compared to animal fats!

  • Jorge Gardner

    Reply Reply November 24, 2017

    When you say you can cook with it, do you mean that you can sautee with it? And I am assuming that you mean not to deep fry with it, correct? Or do you just boil and bake all of your food and then drizzle it with olive oil to finish it?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply November 25, 2017

      Heating olive oil or any other oil is not ideal. Can cause all kinds of health issues from cholesterol to cancer down the road. Best to boil or bake and drizzle it on top. This is how olive oil was meant to be consumed.

  • Lou R

    Reply Reply January 8, 2017

    This was such a useful and educational article! Thank you so very much!!

  • James hradec

    Reply Reply January 3, 2017

    Ive always used olive oil, but have recently fallen in love with avocado oil.

    Any chance this is not on the naughty list?!

    I just read your book and so appreciate your honest, straight forward, accountable aporoach.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply January 3, 2017

      Good question! Vegetable oil and other oils like canola, sunflower seed and even avocado oil. Reason? They are considered trans-fats that are unsaturated fats and are modified to be solid at room temperature. These fats are highly toxic and are associated with an increased risk of various diseases, like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Stick to olive oil! Although this is not a popular opinion nowadays, there is a lot of confusion around this subject about oils from many out there on the web.

  • Brian

    Reply Reply January 28, 2016

    So what oil should I be cooking with?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply January 30, 2016

      Hi Brian!

      Heating up oil in high temperatures and cooking with it, is catastrophic for your health. Bake your food, boil it instead, steam it, BBQ it but when you cook with oil, you are basically eating fried food. Yes I know it might not be deep fried but even sautéed or pan cooking, you’re eating slightly fried food. That’s the problem. Alternatively, you can bake with olive oil. Much more healthier! Do not use any other oils, they are simply not healthy for you. My ebook goes into more detail on oils.

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