If you are interested in Extra Virgin Olive Oil for its health benefits, chances are that you have already heard of Oleocanthal. Just like Oleuropein, Oleocanthal is a naturally occurring phenolic compound with significant anti-inflammatory properties. Concentration in olive oils can vary enormously, from 0.2 mg/Kg to 498 mg/Kg. The highest levels of Oleocanthal are present when olives are harvested early. This compound is responsible for bitterness and pungency. Its presence can be averted in the peppery aftertaste experienced with a quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
The name Oleocanthal contains the Latin Oleo for oil and the Greek Acanth for pungency. It was discovered during an experiment to improve the taste of Ibuprofen. It turns out that oleocanthal shares the same properties as this NSAID drug. It was subsequently established that oleocanthal could be an important ally in treating Alzheimer's disease. A new study points to oleocanthal helping curtail melanoma.
Bottom line, yet another reason to make daily consumption of premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil a priority!