Olive oil could be a treatment for cancer
Studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey and Hunter College in New York have suggested that oleocanthal, a compound in extra-virgin olive oil ruptures the membranes of lysosomes, the structures within cells where waste is stored, leading to the release of enzymes that cause cell death, thus removing cancerous cells without harming healthy cells.
Oleocanthal develops in olives when they're crushed to make the pulp from which oil is pressed. Furthermore it reduces inflammation and may inhibit cancer formation and growth.
Oleocanthal caused cancer cells to break down and die within 30 minutes in the aforementioned studied. Normally it takes 16 to 24 hours for a cell to die. The researchers used laboratory cultures of breast, pancreatic and prostate tumor cells from mice to see if they could be killed by oleocanthal. It seems as though lysosomal membranes of cancer cells are weaker than those of normal cells and if this is correct then extra virgin olive oil could potentially be a treatment for cancer. However it is not known why oleocanthal kills cancerous cells.
Olive oil has the highest percentage of monounsaturated fat of any edible oil. It has antioxidants that not only protect the heart but also could prevent cancer from developing in the first place. Indeed research from the University of Athens published in 2003 suggested that the Mediterranean diet could reduce heart disease risk by thirty three percent and cancer by 24 percent when compared to the typical British diet. A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2014 suggested that eating a Mediterranean diet increases life expectancy by protecting the DNA from damage.
Other advantages of olive oil include reducing high blood pressure, lessening the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and possibily combatting impotence.