The extra virgin olive oil contains substances that protect health, able to fight against the proliferation of cancer cells. Polyphenols present in virgin olive oil have antioxidant capacity, so they can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Studies carried out by Spanish scientists from the Catalan Institute of Oncology and the University of Granada, have found that the polyphenols present in extra virgin olive oil that most protect against cancer are lignans and secoiridoids. The research carried out by Spanish scientists offers new information about the Mediterranean diet and the prevention of diseases, because although enjoying good health is related to genetic inheritance, diet can also contribute to maintaining and improving it.

In 2000 the International Conference on the Mediterranean Diet was held in London, where it was demonstrated that following these feeding guidelines is beneficial for health and reduces the risk factors for developing cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes. The specialists who attended the conference concluded that olive oil and monounsaturated fats can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

What are polyphenols

Polyphenols are a group of chemicals that plants contain. Research indicates that the antioxidant properties of polyphenols pose potential health benefits, such as reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Lignans are phytochemicals that can mimic the functions of human hormones, without the damaging effects of these. Studies done in animal models show that they prevent the growth of breast tumors. In humans it seems that they reduce the incidence of this pathology.

The authors of the study explained that lignans and secoiridoids exerted a tumoricidal action capable of inhibiting the HER2 cancer gene in cultured human breast cancer cells. However, they warn that the concentrations of these phytochemicals used in the laboratory are not achieved with a normal consumption of olive oil in the daily diet. Therefore, to obtain the anticancer benefits offered by these substances, the researchers propose that these polyphenols be used to develop new anti-cancer drugs.

Mediterranean diet could cut breast cancer cases (November 2019).