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Extra virgin olive oil and cancer

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in developed countries and its incidence is increasing.

Extra virgin olive oil and cancer
Extra virgin olive oil and cancer

A connection between diet and the development of a large number of malignant tumors is now acknowledged. Cell oxidation is one of the biggest risks in cancer development: the more vulnerable the cell is to oxygen, the greater the risk of cancer.

The cancers most closely associated with diet are colon, prostate, and breast cancer.

Recent research has shown that the type of fat appears to have a greater impact on cancer incidence than the amount of fat.


A tumor is an abnormal swelling or enlargement of part of the body's tissues. Tumors can be benign or malignant.

Benign tumors are tumors whose cells remain in their original location. They form a localized cell mass that encapsulates as it grows and very rarely leads to death.

Malignant or cancerous tumors, on the other hand, invade the tissue in which they grow. They often enter the bloodstream and lymphatic system and form secondary tumors known as metastases elsewhere. The rate of growth and metastasis varies depending on the type of tumor.

Various environmental factors (physical factors: radiation; chemical factors: certain ingredients in food) and genetic factors play a role in the development of tumors. In most cancers, environmental factors are the most important.


Epidemiological studies indicate that olive oil has a protective effect against certain malignant tumors (breast, prostate, endometrium, digestive tract, ...).

Several research studies have documented that olive oil reduces the risk of breast cancer. A healthy diet with olive oil as the main source of fat could significantly reduce cancer incidence. This is because some of the cell mutations caused by cancer are due to toxins that, when ingested through food, attack DNA. Passing through the liver, these toxins produce free radicals, which then attack DNA. To fight such free radicals, the body needs vitamins and antioxidants like those found in olive oil.

A diet rich in olive oil has also been reported to be associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. The protective effect of olive oil is independent of the number of fruits and vegetables consumed in the diet.

Recent studies have shown that olive oil protects against colon cancer. Recently, research has focused on the effects of fats on metabolism, particularly olive oil's protective role in chronic liver disease and the intestinal condition known as Crohn's disease. The results indicate the positive effects of olive oil on precancerous lesions. After analyzing three diets, the researchers came to different conclusions. The olive oil diet reduced the number of cancer lesions; the number of developing tumors was clearly and significantly small, and the tumors were less aggressive and had a better prognosis.

This beneficial effect may be related to oleic acid, the predominant monounsaturated fatty acid in olive oil. This fatty acid has been observed to decrease the production of prostaglandins derived from arachidonic acid, which in turn plays an important role in the formation and development of tumors.

However, it cannot be ruled out that other ingredients in olive oil such as antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols, and squalene can also have a positive influence. Squalene is believed to have a beneficial effect on the skin by reducing the occurrence of melanoma.

Olive oil also adds flavor to vegetables and legumes, which have well-established benefits in preventing cancer.

Some very promising current research focuses on olive oil's protection against childhood leukemia and various types of cancer, such as B. Squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus.

Much remains to be discovered about how olive oil affects cancer, and concrete data on the mechanisms behind the beneficial role it plays in preventing or inhibiting the growth of various types of cancer is still lacking. However, according to the information currently available, olive oil could act simultaneously in the different stages of carcinogenesis

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