A group of scientists from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, learned that women who used the healthy oil in their diets were at 62 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with the disease in the next five years or more.
The study involved Spanish women who traditionally use olive oil in their diets because the Mediterranean diet they are on. The diet also involves eating lots of vegetables, healthy nuts, fruits, and moderate amounts of fish, lean meat and diary products. Moreover, a little of red wine is also a must-have with main courses.
Study participants were requested to consume olive oil on a regular basis, and they were also provided with nutritional information and counseling.
About 4,800 women took part in the study. Their median age was 68, and most of them were overweight or clinically obese. Researchers monitored the volunteers for nearly five years. During the study, 35 women were diagnosed with breast cancer.
The study, which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, revealed that women who routinely associated their diet with extra-virgin olive oil had a 62 percent decreased risk of breast cancer than women in the control group.
Past findings had revealed that the intake of nuts and olive oil help people live longer and stay away from cardiovascular disease despite some of them being overweight. A recent study has shown that the risk of heart attack and stroke is reduced by 30 percent in people that routinely consume olive oil and nuts. The two foods also helped participants maintain their mental fitness, researchers noted.
But the recent study shows that olive oil may have unexpected health benefits in patients with a high risk of breast cancer, as well. Obesity and weight problems had been linked to high risk of breast cancer by past research.
Researchers also tried to learn whether adding nuts to the diet reduced breast cancer risk, but the results weren’t statistically significant. As a background note, researchers wrote in their study that Mediterranean countries including Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Algeria have lower breast cancer rates than the countries in northern altitudes in both Europe and the U.S.
But extra virgin olive oil was proven effective in reducing the risk only when it accounted for 15 percent or more of the daily calorie intake, the team reported.
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