We’ve all heard of the Mediterranean diet and how it can help people world-wide live longer and healthier lives. And likely you know that in the Mediterranean diet, olive oil features prominently as the primary fat consumed.
But have you ever wondered exactly how and why olive oil plays such an important part in living disease and pain free? Thanks to a bunch of curious scientists we know the answer to this question. It lies in an enzyme called oleocanthal that is found in good quality olive oil.
Inflammation in Today’s World
Much of the pain and disease we face in today’s modern world comes from inflammation in our bodies. Researchers have found evidence connect inflammation with a huge list of ailments that includes:
- Hay fever, sinusitis, and asthma,
- Rheumatoid arthritis and Fibromyalgia,
- Periodontitis and Gingivitis,
- Tuberculosis and bronchitis
- Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Chrohn’s and IBS,
- even Alzheimer’s and cancers.
That’s quite a list. From annoying to life-threatening, inflammation is involved in a whole lot of our daily aches and pains. The good news for everyone is, olive oil can help!
How Olive Oil Helps
The anti-inflammatory properties of over-the-counter pain killers like aspirin and ibuprofen are well known. Whether you take a couple pills occasionally for a headache or a daily supplement of one pill on the recommendation of your doctor, the power of NSAIDs are used often by nearly everyone.
But here’s the thing: oleocanthal—the very same enzyme that makes olive oil anti-inflammatory—is also in NSAIDs. It’s the same thing! Pain killers work, in part, by blocking the inflammation that is causing our discomfort, and they work using the same process as good quality olive oil.
Not every olive oil fights inflammation and pain though. Especially in an industry continually being bombarded by cheap substitutes, you have to know which olive oil to use to gain these benefits.
How to Tell if your Olive Oil has High Oleocanthals
Even if you stick to high quality olive oil, different strains of olives have differing levels of oleocanthals in them. How can you tell which oils you should buy?
This is where a good olive oil tasting room comes in handy; you can actually taste the oleocanthals in olive oil. They have a peppery, bitter, sort of astringent taste. If you have concerns about how inflammation is affecting your pain levels and health, go to your nearest olive oil tasting room and look for oils that give you a little burn in the back of your throat. That’s the stuff you want! Take it home and make it part of your daily food intake. Not only is it delicious, but it contributes to your health by reducing inflammation and the pain it causes in your body.
Don’t get carried away now! We are in no way suggesting you guzzle olive oil like it’s a magic potion. It’s still a dietary fat that—while healthy—contains calories. Moderate steady intake as part of a balanced diet is the key.
Come by Old Town Olive and ask us about the olive oils we carry with high oleocanthal content. Our Coratina Gran Cru, Favalosa, Picual, and Manzanillo oils all pack a wallop of good health along with their enticing flavor palettes. Try a sample and take home your favorite today.