While Olive Oil has long been revered for its healing properties, medical studies have now made a positive link between the consumption of olive oil as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, and the prevention of certain types of cancer such as: breast and colon.
Cancer is caused by the irregular growth of mutated cells. The damaged cells are created by free radicals, or natural toxic atoms produced by the body, which enter the blood stream and attach onto healthy cells. Antioxidants however can neutralize the negative effects of free radicals and render them harmless.
Olive oils are naturally rich in antioxidants (biophenols) — and are therefore believed to be an important ingredient in the fight against cancer.
Researchers in the USA* found that oleic acid, the main fatty acid in olive oil, appears to significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer by cutting levels of a gene thought to trigger the disease. Another study in Spain** found that the antioxidants found in olive oil (squalene, biophenols, flavonoids and polyphenols) can help reduce the risk of bowel cancer.
* Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago. ** Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospital, Germans Trias Pujol, Barcelona, Spain.