Sunday, 3 February 2013

Oleocanthal, when the extra virgin "pinches"

One of the most frequently asked questions about the characteristics of our oil is: "Why is it so hot? Why it pinches me in the throat?"
It 's a question that arises usually those coming from areas where there is no culture of the olive, where the taste is dominated by oils of supermarkets or where the collection and production of extra virgin takes place when the olives are already too mature (to reach the maximum amount but with the detriment of quality) and have lost certain characteristics, beneficial and positive, those that make the oil hot.

Generally are people who live in the north: more you move away from areas of olive production, and more they think it strange that strong character of extra virgin. Basically consumers whose taste is not used to extra virgin olive of high quality.
Indeed, paradoxically, for many the spiciness is synonymous of product in some way not good!!!
Yeah, but because our virgin is so hot?
It is because it contains a high number of POLYPHENOLS, and in particular what makes it spicy is OLEOCANTHAL.

OLEOCANTHAL was discovered by a team of American scientists in 2003. While doing research on high-quality extra-virgin, they noticed the presence of this particular molecule instead was not present, or the percentage was significantly lower, in oils of lower quality.

OLEOCANTHAL is the natural corresponding  of Ibuprofen, a synthetic compound that is the basis of the most famous and used anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

Such as ibuprofen also OLEOCANTHAL has these anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, benefits and healing, and with the advantage of being completely natural. And that's what makes us feel a sense of pinching when we eat a good extra virgin olive oil: this sensation is due to its action on the micro-cracks present in the mucous membranes of our mouth.
Practically the same feeling, albeit less intense and uncomfortable, we feel when disinfect such a wound: feel burning and tingling, this means that the medicine is doing its job and is having an effect ....

Of course it must be said that the percentage of this molecule in the oil is not as high as that of ibuprofen in drugs and therefore can not replace the use of it in case of medical treatment, but it is certain that daily use of extra virgin olive oil with this strong component significantly aid in the prevention of inflammation and ward off micro infections and unwanted bacteria.
Quantifying we can say that in 2-3 spoons of oil is present an amount of OLEOCANTHAL corresponding to about 10% of an average dose of ibuprofen present in anti-inflammatory drugs of most common use.

Moreover, recent studies have shown that this compound has an important law enforcement efforts in the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer's.

In short, we do not want to say that from now on we will cure with extra virgin olive oil, but this discovery is one more reason to prefer an oil of high quality, which guarantees a mild but constant daily preventive action more than other oils.

So, to conclude, hereafter when in sampling extra virgin olive oil and you will find it spicy and that will pinch you in throat, go easy that almost certainly will be an extra virgin quality, vintage year (because OLEOCANTHAL tends to decrease over time and after just one year is already not  noticeable) and from green olives freshly pressed.
Of course will probably cost you a little more, but remember that for a manufacturer choose to do this type of oil, results in a significant loss of quantity (up to 50%), especially because it has to be done when the olives are not yet ripe and therefore their quantitative yield is very poor.