From a disease-prevention standpoint, the Mediterranean-style eating pattern, which features heavy use of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), regularly comes out on top as the tastiest and most efficacious. According to BMC Cancer (Dec. 08), Spanish researchers have discovered some super potent, anti-cancer chemicals in EVOO that may explain why this eating style is associated with breast cancer protection. “Extra-virgin” olive oil is obtained through gentle pressing of olives which preserves their antioxidant plant chemicals called polyphenols (in contrast to “regular” olive oil produced through chemical and heat extraction that destroys the antioxidants). According to the lead researcher, this laboratory study revealed for the first time that all varieties of polyphenol compounds in the EVOO “drastically suppressed overexpression of the HER2 cancer gene in human breast cancer cells.” Think of EVOO as a form of natural chemo-prevention.
To fully exploit the goodness in EVOO, enjoy it daily in foods prepared cold, room temperature, or with low heat. For more on the benefits of EVOO you can watch my quick video tip.