Extra-virgin olive oil tastes good and is also an anti-inflammatory

After a tasting experience at a molecular gastronomy meeting in Sicily, biologist Gary Beauchamp of Pennsylvania University decided to analyse freshly pressed extra-virgin olive oil and found a chemical that acted like ibuprofen in the oil.

He and his team named their discovery oleocanthal and found that, although it has a different chemistry, its effect is similar to that of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory compound in the commercial pain-killer.

This is a significant discovery because scientists believe to an increasing extent that inflammation plays an important part in a variety of chronic diseases like stroke, heart disease, and breast and lung cancer.

The researchers say their findings raise the possibility that long-term consumption of oleocanthal may help to protect against some diseases.

The findings may also help explain the health benefits long attributed to the olive-oil rich Mediterranean diet.

The research is published in the science journal Nature.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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