Self-destruction of the body: Cancer turns normal body cells into their malignant counterpart that wants to keep on replicating by any means.
Research studies are providing better and better documentation for the anti-cancer benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Early studies in this area were largely limited to research using rats and mice or research on cell cultures in the lab. But more recent studies have looked at people incorporating Extra Virgin Olive Oil into their everyday meal plan and have found encouraging results.
As few as 1–2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil per day have been associated with decreased risk of breast, respiratory tract, and digestive tract cancers. In the case of the digestive tract, reduced risk seems more likely in the upper tract (stomach and small intestine) than in the lower digestive tract (large intestine, including the colon).
Scientists have looked at several different mechanisms that might allow Extra Virgin Olive Oil to provide these anti-cancer effects. One group of studies have focused on the secoiridoids, oleuropein and decarboxylmethyl oleuropein, and determined that these Extra Virgin Olive Oil phytonutrients help shift some of our metabolic pathways in the direction of better stress resistance. In addition, the overall phenolic content of Extra Virgin Olive Oil has been associated with a decreased ability of cancer cells to regenerate. At least some of this effect involves the ability of two phenols in Extra Virgin Olive Oil—tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol—to block activity of an enzyme called matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MM-2).
The multiplication of cancer cells depends on an adequate supply of oxygen, and in order to obtain this supply of oxygen, cancer cell growth is often accompanied by the formation of new blood vessels (through a process called angiogenesis). Because the activity of MM-2 is needed to trigger this process of new blood vessel formation, substances that block MM-2 activity can also lessen the likelihood of new blood vessel formation. The tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol in Extra Virgin Olive Oil may decrease the likelihood of cancer cell regeneration by interfering with angiogenesis and lowering the supply of oxygen that would otherwise be available for new blood vessel formation.
View our health pages to see what else extra virgin olive oil can do as a health benefit