Next time you sit down for a colorful mix of greens and vegetables, consider grabbing a bottle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).  Extra virgin olive oil is known to improve cardiovascular health, but did you know that this simple oil in its rawest form is a superfood for fighting breast cancer

Groundbreaking research demonstrates that EVOO contains a natural phenolic compound called oleocanthal. Why is this important? This compound’s properties work as an antioxidant, antibacterial, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory against breast, prostate, colorectal, and skin cancer.

Because of this, research indicates it may prevent relapse in one of the four major types of breast cancer, HER2 dependent breast cancer, and decrease the size of other types of breast cancer tumors that appear after treatment.

Researchers believe that high EVOO consumption plays a vital role in the reduction of breast cancer risk. 

In a random clinical trial published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers tested the benefits of a Mediterranean Diet on cardiovascular health.

The data from that trial suggested that women can dramatically reduce their risk of breast cancer disease by following a version of the Mediterranean diet that included high consumption of extra virgin olive oil.

Women who did so were 62 percent less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women who chose to reduce the overall fat percentage in their diets.

What exactly is the Mediterranean Diet? 

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil. Go for the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) instead of just the olive oil to get more of the compound oleocanthal and increase your protection from breast cancer. 

And don’t let the word diet fool you, the Mediterranean diet is not a structured diet but a guide to improve overall health. Resulting health improvements could include weight loss, diabetes prevention and reduction, brain and heart health, and breast cancer risk reduction.  

It includes a lifestyle commitment to increase activity, reduce red meat, sugar, and saturated fat, and eat more vegetables, healthy fats (fish), nuts, and produce. A Mediterranean diet begins at the grocery store, continues in the kitchen, and carries on throughout your daily activities. 

But it doesn’t have to be difficult with so many healthy recipes available for free online. To make it easier, you can select a personalized meal delivery service that specializes in preparing meals for clients with specific dietary requests like these.

One bonus of the Mediterranean diet is you can top it off with a glass of red wine and know that you are further contributing to your health. 

Yes, EVOO is better for you than just olive oil.

Extra-virgin olive oil is made from pure, cold-pressed olives, whereas regular olive oil is a blend of both cold-pressed and processed oils. When making EVOO, they grind olives into a paste, then press it to extract the oil. The virgin part of EVOO refers to the cold-pressed oil that producers extract without chemical processing. No chemicals mean you get the oil’s freshest form, which gives you more of the nutritional components that reduce cancer risk. 

EVOO is where you find the richest quantities of polyphenols, plant nutrients with a wide range of health benefits, and tocopherols, variations on vitamin E that protect against oxidative stress. The polyphenol content of EVOO ranges between 150 mg/kg to 400 mg/kg, while that of refined olive oil is just 0 mg/kg to 5 mg/kg. 

The numbers speak for themselves. You want to grab the EVOO when looking to lower your cholesterol or your blood pressure, along with a multitude of other health benefits for your body.  

Start making changes with easy substitutions.

It’s easy to get more EVOO in your diet. Substitute any recipe that calls for butter, canola oil, or any other type of oil. There are a wide variety of EVOO flavors on the market. Some EVOO can be bitter or pungent, so you need to go to an expert when substituting for baking, especially. Our friends at The Virgin Olive Oiler offer a variety of EVOO that is aged, fused, or infused. If you don’t know where to start, give them a call or visit their store for a taste test. 

Cooking with EVOO has its benefits as well. For one, it has one of the lowest smoke points of all oils at 325-375ºF  (the smoke point is the point at which the fat molecules within the oil begin to degrade and smoke), making it perfect for mid-high heat cooking like sautéing or simmering.

The next time you sit down to a bountiful plate of greens and veggies, put away that creamy salad dressing and pour on the extra virgin olive oil paired with a dash of balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon instead.

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