Compound in Olive Oil May Help Kill Cancer Cells
The Mediterranean Diet is well known for its connection to health, and extra virgin olive oil is a significant part of this nutritious eating regime. Not only does extra virgin olive oil contain monounsaturated fats linked to heart health, it is packed with oleocanthal, a phenolic compound that may offer anti-cancer benefits according to researchers from Hunter College in New York City and Rutgers University.
This new research published in Molecular & Cellular Oncology examined both cancerous and non-cancerous human pancreatic, breast and prostate cells. After applying oleocanthal to the cells, cancer cells were killed in as little as 30 minutes, while no damage was done to the non-cancerous cells. Investigation revealed oleocanthal acts by puncturing the membrane of lysosomes (waste-containing sacs) in cancer cells. Once these sacs are ruptured, destructive enzymes are released thereby killing cancer cells with their own enzymes.
Though more studies are needed before this can be considered a treatment for cancer, the results demonstrate yet another reason to use extra virgin olive oil in your cooking and meal preparation. Use extra virgin olive oil to make marinades for fish and poultry or for tasty homemade salad dressings. Our Citrus Ginger Vinaigrette can be used to add fresh flavor to green salads or as a topping for grilled salmon or asparagus. Extra virgin olive oil may have potential health benefits, but remember it is calorie-dense (1 tablespoon = 120 calories and 13.5 grams of fat) so enjoy it in moderation.
BONUS: Interested in the benefits of other types of oils? Check out our oil roundup in Beyond Olive Oil from the Dole Nutrition Institute.
Published August 1, 2015