Following a Mediterranean diet that is rich with fish, plant foods and olive oil is good for the brain, heart and one’s overall health. A recent study have confirmed that eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, may help reduce women’s risk of breast cancer by at least 62%.
The researchers in Spain divided more than 4,000 women, whose age ranges from 60-80, into three groups. The first group was advised to eat a Mediterranean diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and fish with about 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil each day. While the second group also followed the Mediterranean diet, but the diet was supplemented with mixed nuts. The third group was asked to eat a low-fat diet.
Over the next six years, 35 women developed breast cancer, but women who consumed olive oil had a 62% reduction risk as compared to women on the low-fat diet. The women who consumed extra nuts experienced a minimal drop in risk, but it was not statistically significant.
How Olive Oil Works?
The researchers believed that the substances in the olive oil, may kill abnormal cells and inhibit the growth of the breast cancer cells, among other potential mechanisms.
The women who joined the study were all at high risk of heart disease and the average of their body mass index was 30, which is considered obese. Obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer.
The researchers also noted that there were limitations in the study. These includes that breast cancer was not the primary end point and that it was not clear whether the olive oil was beneficial on its own or should be taken within the Mediterranean diet.