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Olive oil may be the breast cancer miracle we've been waiting for

Sasha Brown-Worsham

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Sasha Brown-Worsham

Sasha Brown-Worsham has written for dozens of publications over the course of her years as a journalist and blogger. She lives outside NYC with her three children, husband, and multiple pets. She is working on her first novel.

Diet high in olive oil reduces breast cancer risk significantly, says new study

It seems like once a week we hear something new either causes or prevents breast cancer. It's easy to get fatigue from it all. But a new study that suggests olive oil may help prevent breast cancer is one to which we all need to stand and pay attention.

The Mediterranean diet is heavy on fish and veggies and olive oil and those women who follow it, particularly a version that goes heavy on extra virgin olive oil were shown to be 62 percent less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer compared with women who were simply asked to reduce the overall amount of fat in their diets.

The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine. It's pretty groundbreaking.

The original purpose of the study was to look at the diet itself. What it discovered was a pleasing side effect. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups – Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil, Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or a regular low-fat diet. During the course of the study a number of people were diagnosed with breast cancer.

According to the LA Times:

"Among the 4,282 women who participated in the trial, there were 35 confirmed cases of invasive breast cancer. (Cases of ductal carcinoma in situ, or Stage 0 breast cancer, were not tracked.)T he risk of being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer was highest for women who were advised to eat less fat – 2.9 cases for every 1,000 person-years. That compared to a diagnosis rate of 1.8 cases per 1,000 person-years for women who were on the Mediterranean diet with extra nuts and a rate of 1.1 cases per 1,000 person-years for women who were on the Mediterranean diet with additional extra virgin olive oil."

So what does that mean? For me, it means more olive oil. Why not? We already know that olive oil reduces heart disease. Plus it is a healthier oil in general that adds flavor to food and is generally wonderful.

Does this mean we are moving away from the "miracle" of coconut oil and looking at olive oil again? Only time will tell. But as someone whose mother died of breast cancer and who has had several other relatives with the disease, I pay close attention to these developments. Most of the time, they are not particularly exciting. This one feels different. It makes a lot of sense.

Olive oil, for the win. We all can make this change.

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