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Does Extra Virgin Olive Oil Reduces Cancer Mortality and Morbidity

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) Reduces Cancer Mortality and Morbidity

Cancer is one of the main causes of mortality worldwide (1). 

I’m sure you’ve heard the hype around the many benefits of extra virgin olive oil, but did you know that a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) can decrease the mortality and morbidity of cancer patients?

Why is Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) Beneficial for Cancer Patients?

Cancers are caused by cell damage and the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body that multiply. Environment and diet are factors as well. In recent studies, researchers have found “dietary lipids (fats) play a role in cancer, particularly breast, colorectal, and prostate” (1). Extra virgin olive oil is a healthy and versatile fat, and it happens to be one of the best oils for cancer patients due to its inhibitory effects from conjugated linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acids. Fats in your diet can help keep your body warm, protect your organs, help your body absorb nutrients, and give you energy. Clearly, extra virgin olive oil has many health benefits.

A recent study with 13,800 cancer patients and 23,340 control participants further supports the benefit of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) on cancer morbidity and mortality. Researchers concluded, “Cancer morbidity and mortality are lower in Mediterranean countries, where olive oil represents a substantial fraction of dietary fat … [a] higher degree of adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced mortality for cancer of all types” (2) when compared to a Western diet.

Now, You May Be Wondering How You Can Incorporate Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) Into Your Diet.

First off, it doesn’t have to be complicated or something you overthink. A simple extra virgin olive oil bread dip with pressed garlic, red pepper flake, and dried herbs or a simple salad dressing with fresh lemon juice and salt is an easy way to incorporate extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) into your everyday diet. If you want a little more, check out the Mediterranean diet. 

So, What is the Mediterranean diet?

A Mediterranean diet consists of foods like vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, seafood, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh herbs. Red meat and sweets are consumed sparingly and water should be your go-to drink. But don’t worry! If you’re a wine lover like we are, you’re covered –– the Mediterranean diet includes red wine in moderation. 

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.