Does your extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) have a peppery, almost biting finish? Don’t be put off – that’s a sign you’re buying the right stuff.
Olives contain a natural compound called oleocanthal, which is responsible for the mild burning sensation in the back of your throat when you eat EVOO. If your EVOO doesn’t “bite”, it may have degraded and lost its healthy qualities. Or *shock horror* it may not even be real EVOO at all.
Just so you know, this is a sponsored post. But the opinions are our own and we researched the topic and came to these conclusions independently.
But what’s so great about oleocanthal?
- Brain-healthy: Oleocanthal has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, with four tablespoons equalling about 10 per cent of an ibuprofen dose. While it’s totally unrealistic for anyone to drink that much olive oil, some scientists think that long-term consumption in small quantities could protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease.
- Fights joint pain: For those living with osteoarthritis, olive oil therapy may help. One study showed oleocanthal to inhibit the progression of inflammatory degenerative joint disease, again similar to ibuprofen (which is often prescribed for the management of arthritis).
- Potentially better than chemo?: Now this is exciting. Human cancer cells in a test tube started dying just 30 minutes after treatment with oleocanthal, and all cancer cells were non-viable after 24 hours. Unlike chemotherapy, healthy human cells were left unharmed. If scientists can harness the power of oleocanthal, it may be the most effective cancer treatment yet.
Here’s how to taste test your EVOO for oleocanthal.
As we mentioned, not all EVOOs are made equal. In fact, many inferior brands are rancid before they hit the shelves or contain chemically refined “blends” of lower grade oils and EVOO (beware the “extra light and pure” label). Yikes! Luckily, you can test your EVOO at home and sidestep these nasties…
Firstly, take a whiff of your oil. It should remind you of something fresh, like cut grass or fruit. If it reminds you of the oil from your car, it’s gone off! Next take a sip of EVOO, swish it around your mouth a bit, and swallow. You should get some bitterness on your palate and a peppery kick at the back of your throat. If it’s bland, greasy or tastes like play dough (really!), don’t buy that brand again! If it tastes terrible on its own, why the heck would you use it to cook your food? Good EVOO, on the other hand, is delicious straight up.
I Quit Sugar’s favourite EVOO is Australian-grown-and-owned Cobram Estate, which has a creamy taste and an incomparably sharp and spicy finish. Compare it to your olive oil at home and you’ll see what we mean!
Did you do the oleocanthal taste test? How did your EVOO measure up?