How Antioxidants In EVOO Can Help Counter Cancer

What Are Phenols

Phenols are cell protectors that keep your body young and healthy. Naturally, as we age, our cells can be exposed to free radicals that lead to oxidation, where healthy cells in our bodies are damaged. Free radicals can cause many chronic diseases, one of them being cancers. Luckily extra virgin olive oil contains phenols that can counter free radicals.

What Kind Of Phenols Are In Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) 

In a previous blog post, we discussed oleocanthal and its effects on cancer cells, but there are a ton of other amazing phenols in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) that benefit our bodies. Some of these phenols being oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosol. The “olive biophenols, oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosol, have displayed cytotoxicity towards cancer cells without affecting non-tumorigenic cells in cancers of the breast and prostate”, this shows that extra virgin olive oil is less toxic to healthy cells compared to chemotherapy drugs. 

In a study on cancer cells of the lung and breast, oleuropein caused cells to undergo apoptosis while hydroxytyrosol caused prostate cancer cells to undergo apoptosis. Hydroxytyrosol is a “promising anticancer agent that has shown potential in vitro against clinically relevant models representing benign as well as aggressive prostate cancers”, and because of its non-toxic effects on normal cells, it is perfect for cancer patients as well as prevention for non-cancer patients.

How To Choose Your Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

The Health Benefits of extra virgin olive oil are never-ending, that is why there are so many brands out there! Remember that when you are choosing your bottle, choose the one with a signature stinging sensation like pepper. Those are the bottles with higher concentrations of oleocanthal, hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein, and tyrosol –– the more potent, the better the benefits. 

Written by Mandy Zhen
Reviewed by Kelly Powers, MA, RDN, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who takes a holistic approach to nutrition and health. Kelly is a recipe developer with a food blog highlighting whole foods, simple recipes, and her life in San Francisco. She’s the creator of 52 Weeks, a weekly meal plan program that helps users get back in the kitchen and feed themselves well. Kelly is also a co-founder of Olivaio.