A study by Spanish researchers has shown that following a Mediterranean diet rich in extra virgin olive oil (four tablespoons a day) can reduce by up to two thirds the risk of breast cancer.
In fact, for every 5% more calories from this type of oil the risk of developing a breast tumor, one of the most frequent causes of death in women is reduced by 28%.
Well it demonstrated in the study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, coordinated by the University of Navarra and the Centre for Biomedical Research in Red-Pathophysiology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn), whose results were presented at a press press.
This is the first scientific paper demonstrating a randomized preventive value of the Mediterranean diet against breast cancer test, because so far the studies were based only on observation.
“An article that will surely mark a before and after its publication,” stressed the director of the Institute of Health Carlos III, Jesus Fernandez Crespo.
One trial with 4,282 participants
The research is part of a large clinical trial called PREDIMED on the effects of the Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease and has been performed on a sample of 4,282 women who were the followed up for 4.8 years.
The participants from Spain followed by three types of diet: Mediterranean rich in extra virgin olive oil, Mediterranean supplemented with nuts and low-fat diet for the control group, explained Jordi Salas-Salvado, Professor of Nutrition and Food Science at the Rovira i Virgili University, co-author of the study.
The assignment of the participants to each group was randomly, so that all groups had a similar risk factors (family history of cancer, consumption of snuff and alcohol, etc.).
In the first two cases the results confirm that the incidence of the disease is almost a third of that in the control group.
The absolute rates of breast cancer per 1000 women / year were 1.1 in the first group, 1.8 in the second and 2.9 in the third, said Dr. Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez, the Health Research Institute of Navarra and study coordinator.
According to the authors of the work, the assignment of participants to the pattern of Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil -suponia at least 15% of the energy ingerida- largely explains the achieved protection against breast cancer.
This, despite the fact that the control group with which the results are compared also followed a healthy diet (low fat), suggesting that the results could have been more significant if it had made the comparison with a pattern diet like the Mediterranean is still no Western countries.
Although the recommendations of the first two groups were similar in the type of oil that would be consumed and the amount, the truth is that the members of the first gave them a bottle of oil virgin extra a month, so that ” used for everything, “said Dr. Stephanie Toledo, of the University of Navarra and first author of the study.
In this regard, Dr. Martinez-Gonzalez has rejected the “myth” that the virgin oil should not be used for frying, when “the best” for it.
In addition, he explained that the antitumor effects are only in the virgin olive oil not refined.
Participants were subjected to strict controls to ensure that the recommendations were drinking and were also conducted random tests for measuring fatty acids in plasma and urine markers.
This means that, “was biochemically validated food intake,” he highlighted.
Effective against retinopathy
Moreover, a study conducted participants also PREDIMED trial has shown that the Mediterranean diet with olive oil reduces by 44% the risk of diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in these patients.
This is the result of six years of follow-up for 3,614 men and women with type 2 diabetes.
The work has been published in the journal Diabetes Care and has been led by Professor Salas-Salvado.