Olive oil has long been known for its health benefits, now scientists claim regular use of the Mediterranean oil could help keep breast cancer at bay. Spanish scientists found that olive oil mounts a multi-prolonged attack on the tumours, stunting their growth, driving their cells to implode and protecting against potentially-cancerous damage to DNA.
Researches at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain found that the oil thwarts a gene that drives the growth of breast tumours.
In experiments on rats, the researchers found that the oil, which has high content of antioxidative substances, switched off proteins that cancer cells rely on to stay alive. It also protects DNA from damage which can lead to cancer, the Daily Mail quoted the researchers as saying.
Reporting their findings in the journal Carcinogenesis, study author Dr Eduard Escrich said regular and long-term use of extra virgin olive oil could give better results. A second Spanish study found that olive oil ’turns down’ genes linked to hardening of the arteries and heart disease.
Researcher Dr Maria Isabel Covas, of the Insitut Municial d’Investigacio Medica in Barcelona, said: "Knowing which genes can be modulated by diet in a healthy way can help people select healthy foods." A second Spanish study found that olive oil ’turns down’ genes linked to hardening of the arteries and heart disease.
Lead researcher Dr Maria Isabel Covas said: "Knowing which genes can be modulated by diet in a healthy way can help people select healthy foods." Dr Gerald Weissmann of the FASEB journal, which published the finding, said: "This study is ground-breaking because it shows that olive oil and a Mediterranean diet affect our bodies in a far more significant way than previously believed."
The finding provides more impetus for healthy eating -- as well as ideas for new drugs to tackle heart problems, he said.
The Mediterranean diet has previously been credited with protecting against all major diseases - including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Its health benefits come from it being high in fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats such as those in olive oil, while low in red meat and dairy products.