Researchers reported that yet another study has demonstrated that women who eat a Mediterranean diet with a little extra-virgin olive oil have a lower risk of breast cancer.
A Mediterranean diet is characterized by salad, fruit, vegetables, nuts, a little fish, a little lean meat, a small amount of cheese, and olive oil. Additionally, wine is served at meals.
Historically breast cancer rates have been lower in Mediterranean countries than in Northern or Central European countries or in the United States.
The women that participated in the study who added extra-virgin olive oil to their diets had a 62% lower risk of breast cancer over the next five years.
The study was conducted in Spain, where people generally eat a Mediterranean diet.
The participants in the study were given extra counseling and a weekly supply of either extra-virgin olive oil or mixed nuts.
A healthful diet with extra nuts and olive oil has been shown to help people live longer and avoid heart disease cutting the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 30% and it may also preserve their brains.
The study was conducted on 4,282 women who were on average about 68 years old and obese with an average body mass index of 30.4, which is just over the line for clinical obesity.
After a median follow-up of 4.8 years, researcher identified 35 confirmed incidents of breast cancer.
The study is considered unusually strong because participants were randomly assigned to different diets. It accounts for the possibility that people who choose to follow a certain healthy diet pattern may do other things too.
Women who received extra-virgin olive oil saw a 60% decrease in their of breast cancer. Women who were assigned the mixed nut mixture also had a slightly lower risk of breast cancer, but the results were not strong enough to be considered significant.
Extra-virgin olive oil means the olive oil is squeezed mechanically, without the use of heat or chemicals that can alter its chemical properties. It usually has a stronger flavor than processed olive oil.
However, it took a lot of olive oil to get the protection; it had to make up 15% or more of calories.