<< Contains a molecule that has analgesic and antiinflammatory >>

The pungent flavor that is felt in the throat while enjoying a good meal seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, is a "pinch" of health and more. This depends on an unknown natural compound, an anti-inflammatory called oleocanthal. As explained by Gary Beauchamp & Paul Breslin of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, this natuaral compound has the same effects as ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug widely used in medicine that is said to have anti-cancer effects in the long run.

The discovery happened by accident during a meeting of molecular gastronomy in Sicily. Here, while Beauchamp was tasting dishes seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, he recognized the same pungent sensation he experienced in sampling ibuprofen.

Guided by the idea that similarities in the organoleptic properties of two substances can hide behind important chemical similarities, the scientist immediately began looking for the compound using the recognizable, pungent taste. Until then the compund was unknown and baptized with the name of oleocanthal (aldehyde "wings", which is derived from olive oil "and oil" and that is pungent "canth").

Olive oil is healthy, genuine and highly digestible which facilitates gastric and hepatic function helping to regulate the bowels, as well as it reduces the secretion of gastric acid by preventing duodenal ulcer.

One or two tablespoons in the morning on an empty stomach is a simple way to improve chronic constipation and helps to improve the tone of the gallbladder. Olive oil also has a protective function and is preventive against various diseases.

Olive oil reduces the risk of heart attack, hypertension and other atherosclerotic diseases, as it helps maintain low levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and secures with its monounsaturated fatty acid levels of good cholesterol (HDL) that are essential for cleaning the arteries. It also has a positive effect on diabetes by improving the blood glucose profile, controlling lipid metabolism and reducing the formation of harmful substances. Olive oil also has an important role against cancer. Considering 35% of all cancer cases are a result of improper eating habits, cancer can simply be prevented if we just change our eating habits. 

Let's analyze the composition of extra virgin olive oil: 100g of oil contain approximately 99% fat, 73% of which are monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid), about 10% of which are polyunsaturated fatty acids, divided into 9% (the same percentage as breast milk!), 0.3% linolenic acid, and about 17% are saturated fatty acids. Lastly, about 20mg of vitamin E for a grand total of 900 calories. This disproves immediately the myth that olive oil has more fat than other oils. In fact, all oils are made up of 99% body fat and bring 9K/ calorie per gram. Because the extra virgin olive oil is more viscous and flavorful, surely anyone can use a smaller amount which is beneficial in terms of calorie contribution. It is beneficial for the elderly and for children because it stimulates bone mineralization avoiding calcium loss, as well as aiding in the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K. All cooks, professional and at home, have a responsibility to keep in the mind the new demands of customers and the health benefits of their family. This is why we should wisely use this information and reasoning about the fat content in other oils compared to extra virgin olive oil. Like all well seasoned dishes, (though well seasoned too often implies the usage of black oil), we must take into account the price we have to pay in order to eat more healthy. Because extra virgin olive oil may be more expensive, we can begin to see it as a "valuable food", one that should be used wisely and sparingly.

The properties of Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil has always been considered halfway between food and medicine. The beneficial properties that extra virgin olive oil has on the body are remarkable: 

 - Reduces the level of LDL cholesterol
 - Reduces the risk of clogging of the arteries
 - Reduces blood pressure
 - Reduces the level of blood sugar
 - Increases the secretionof bile
 - Increase the intake of vitamins A, D and E
 - Facilitates' absorption of othervitamins
 - Prevents atherosclerosis
 - Prevents myocardial infarction

The nutritional qualities of olive oil make it a suitable food for all ages, especially young people who wish to remain fit and at their peak energy levels. The presence of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, counteracts the free radicals that are considered responsible for speeding up the aging process in our bodies. The presence of some unsaturated fatty acids is also an additional nutritional value, as they are substances of which the body needs but is not able to produce. The composition of the oil is very balanced and close to the needs of the human organism. This is why extra virgin olive oil helps prevent cardiovascular disease, the onset of atherosclerosis and reduces the risk of heart attack. It is essential for children and old people because it limits the loss of bone calcium and is easily digestible, helping the liver activity and regulates intestinal activity.

Today the use of olive oil has a certain relevance in cosmetics: its cosmetic virtues are in fact based on acidic affinity with human skin and adipose tissue.