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Oleocanthal is one of thirty phenolic compounds found in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, that is responsible for the bitterness, pungency and what we like to call ‘the peppery kick’, as this liquid gold hits the back of your throat.
Oleocanthal was discovered in 1993 by Dr Gary Beauchamp who was working on the taste of different solutions of liquid Ibuprofen when he found that the pungency of freshly pressed EVOO reminded him of ibuprofen. He ordered some samples to be sent for testing and Oleocanthal was found to have similar anti-inflammatory properties to Ibuprofen.
The name may be difficult to pronounce but it helps when you understand how it evolved. This is what it means:
Oleo - From the Latin ‘oil’
canth - From the Greek, thorn of the pungency
Al - from chemical compound aldehyde
Oleocanthal is not present in the olive fruit itself but is only created during the pressing process, being transformed into a medicinal type oil that is credited for the lower incidence of both cancer and cognitive diseases in Mediterranean populations.
Since its discovery, numerous studies have been performed to find out the health benefits of oleocanthal and its beneficial effect on human wellbeing. One report published in ‘Molecular and Cellular Oncology’ found that oleocanthal can kill cancer cells in 30 minutes without damaging healthy cells. Another report published in respected newspaper “ACS Chemical neuroscience’ stated how mice given Oleocanthal saw a decrease in the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque that is responsible for Alzheimer’s Disease. Although studies have been limited, the results are promising and there are no long term side effects from consuming olive oil.
This may be where it gets complicated because not every bottle of olive oil at the grocery store will deliver the same health benefits of oleocanthal, it all depends on how the olives were pressed and the oil was produced. It’s always best to ask an expert at an olive oil store, be it online or a physical place, to make sure you’re buying the right quality of oil.
In order to receive the protective benefit of your premium EVOO, it is recommended to consume it on a daily basis. 4 tablespoons of raw virgin olive oil is considered to be equivalent to 125 mg of Ibuprofen which is a good basis to prevent or relieve chronic inflammation processes. If you ask us at Papa Vince, it’s easy to add that amount daily to salads, vegetables, soups and pasta dishes, just drizzle on top of your plate. You can also drink it as a shot, especially first thing in the morning, your body will thank you for adding all those healthy fats to your diet.
This article is written for information only and was compiled using a variety of sources: