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Some Guidelines On Eating Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Researchers at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia recently discovered that extra-virgin olive oil contains a compound called oleocanthal, which has the same pain-inhibiting effects in your body as ibuprofen.

Specifically, 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (about 60 grams) provides about the same amount of pain relief as 10% of the recommended one-time dose of ibuprofen for adults.

The amount of oleocanthal present in extra-virgin olive oil depends entirely on the quality of the oil. Quite simply, the best oils contain the most oleocanthal.

Typically, the best extra-virgin olive oils are those that are made in and imported from Italy, Greece, and Crete. You can find these oils in some regular supermarkets, but you are more likely to find them at a local Greek or Italian store, the kind that you see Malto Mario and other celebrity chefs on the Food Network visiting.

A tip when buying extra-virgin olive oil: make sure that it comes in a dark container that doesn't allow any light through. Extra-virgin olive oils that come in containers that allow the oil to be exposed to light are far more likely to turn rancid than those that come in dark containers. We have a dark bottle on our countertop that we refill with a 3-litre dark container of Italian made extra virgin olive oil that only costs 14.97 at our local grocery store.

How can you know with reasonable certainty if your extra virgin olive oil is of high quality? Take a sip and look for a slight burning or peppery sensation in the back of your throat. This is what the pros in Italy and Greece do to test for quality as soon as their oils are produced.

One final note about extra-virgin olive oil: If one of your goals is to decrease weight, it's important to use it sparingly. It packs a lot of calories per ounce and can lead to weight gain if you are not physically active. If you are physically active and don't have a problem maintaining your ideal weight, you should feel free to enjoy plentiful amounts on a regular basis.

For information on other oils, view my Guidelines to Choosing Healthy Oils.


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