(Natural News) Olive oil is the primary source of dietary fat in the Mediterranean diet, which has been well-praised for its role in protecting against diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. In a study in Spain, it was found that extra virgin olive oil can lower your risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 66 percent.
Researchers from The Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain looked at the effects of extra virgin olive oil on cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. For this purpose, they recruited 7,447 participants.
For the breast cancer part of the study, the researchers gave thousands of participating families one liter of extra virgin oil oil every week for five years to ensure that they have enough supply of the oil. Then, they observed 4,282 women aged 60 to 80 in those families who had similar health and lifestyle characteristics. The women were divided into three groups. One group followed a diet rich in olive oil, another group adhered to a diet rich in dried fruits and nuts, and the third group followed a low-fat diet.
The study revealed that women who consumed four spoons of olive oil every day had their breast cancer risk reduced by 66 percent. On the contrary, the other groups did not find any significant changes in their breast cancer risk. The results of this study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Earlier studies involving animals suggested that the polyphenol in extra virgin olive oil slows the progression of cancer cells,reducing the cells’ opportunity to spread and form malignant tumors. Other studies also showed that olive oil inhibits the activity of some of the proteins necessary for the survival of cancer cells. In addition, olive oil is said to protect the DNA in the cell nucleus. All these beneficial effects of extra virgin olive oil contribute to its ability to inhibit the spread of cancerous tumors.
Reasons to add extra virgin olive oil to your diet
Olive oil is the healthy, natural oil extracted from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea). Extra virgin olive oil is considered healthier than regular olive oil because it is less processed. In addition, extra virgin olive oil offers many health benefits, such as:
- Providing healthy fats. Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated oleic acid, a fatty acid that is known to fight inflammation. Monounsaturated fats are also quite resistant to high heat, which makes extra virgin olive oil a healthy choice for cooking. (Related: Olive oil really is the healthiest oil for frying foods, scientists find.)
- Offering antioxidants. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in vitamins E and K and also contains powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease.
- Protecting against cardiovascular disease. One of the most prominent health benefits of extra virgin olive oil is its ability to protect the heart from diseases. In a review published in the journal Pharmacological Research, researchers from Spain found that people who regularly consume olive oil have lower chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, stroke, and hyperlipidemia. The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil are said to contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
- Preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Extra-virgin olive oil contains a natural phenolic compound called oleocanthal. Animal studies have shown that oleocanthal plays a role in the prevention of beta-amyloid accumulation in the brain. Beta-amyloid is said to be a key factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Learn more about other foods that help prevent cancer by visiting Anticancer.news.