Home » Breast Cancer » Olive Oil Cuts Breast Cancer Risk – PREDIMED Trial Data

Olive Oil Cuts Breast Cancer Risk – PREDIMED Trial Data

A recent study has shown that the ammunition against breast cancer is stocked in a women’s kitchen. Data from a large randomized control trial has recently indicated that  women can dramatically reduce their risk by following a version of the Mediterranean diet that goes heavy on extra virgin olive oil.

Data from  a clinical trial known as PREDIMED, which was designed to assess the cardiovascular effects of Mediterranean diet, demonstrated that women who followed the diet were 62% less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer compared with women who were only asked to reduce the overall fat content in their diets. The results were recently published in a reputed journal, JAMA.

Although the study’s main focus was cardiovascular disease, researchers also tracked the incidence of five types of cancer, including breast cancer. Patients in this trial were divided into three groups:

  1. Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil
  2. Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts
  3. Regular low-fat diet.

Study analysis showed that the women in the extra virgin olive oil group were 62% less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer during the course of the study as compared to women in the regular low-fat group.

Researchers wrote that the  women in the extra virgin olive oil-heavy Mediterranean diet group got 22% of their total calories from the oil. However, the researchers wrote that for olive oil to be beneficial, it should contribute at least 15% of the total calorie requirement.

There are many reasons why extra virgin olive oil is a potent cancer-fighter:

  • It is rich in oleic acid, a substance that helps in killing cancer cells
  • It’s also high in squalene, a compound that has antioxidant effects.
  • Polyphenols like oleocanthal & oleuropein have also shown to reduce the spread of breast cancer.


 This is the first prospective randomized clinical trial to see whether a Mediterranean diet can offer protection against breast cancer. The data seems promising but there are certain points which need to be kept in mind:
  1. The study included white women between the age of 60-80 and they had Type II diabetes or at least three risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, too much “bad” cholesterol or a history of smoking. So, more studies are required in young patients to see if this diet benefits them as well.
  2. Also more studies are required to see if the same holds true for other racial groups as well

The good thing is that more and more Indian families are shifting to olive oil but what has to be clearly kept in mind is that this study was conducted for Extra Virgin Olive Oil and not routine olive oil. So next time you go to buy cooking oil, make sure you choose Extra virgin olive oil to cut your risk of breast cancer.


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