Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Curbs Breast Cancer Cells

Dec 18, 2008
Women, trying to protect themselves from breast cancer, have one more reason to keep to Mediterranean diet. Extra-virgin olive oil that is included in this popular diet was found to have chemicals that suppress breast cancer cells.

Spanish study discovered that chemicals known as polyphenols found in cold-pressed olive oil considerably inhibit overexpression of the cancer gene HER2 in breast cancer cells. Javier Menendez, of the Catalan Institute of Oncology, who led a study revealed that there are two active chemicals, i.e lignans and secoiridoids, in olive oil that exhibit anti-cancer effect.

Olive oil is produced by pressing olives. Extra virgin olive oil is considered the best quality oil due to the fact that it involves less processing. This oil preserves phytochemicals that may reduce breast cancer risk.

However, scientists warn that the amount of extra-virgin olive oil enough to suppress cancer cells should be quite high if compared to the amount of olive oil consumed daily. But it might become a first step towards designing a new anti-cancer drug, containing polyphenols of olive oil.

The previous studies showed that extra-virgin olive oil is effective in preventing different types of cancer, including colorectal, prostate, pancreas and endometrial cancers. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and is a great source of vitamin E, having antioxidant properties. It also protects against heart disease, lowers blood pressure, prevents the formation of blood clots and helps to maintain better intestinal and liver functions.