Olive Oil, Fruits and Vegetables and Preventing Breast Cancer

by Mona Saint MD

Two interesting studies about diet and breast cancer came out this week.  In the first study laboratory researchers found that extra virgin olive oil could suppress genes that can cause breast cancer.  Approximately 20-30% of breast cancers come from people who carry this gene which might explain why some studies show Mediterranean diets can lower the breast cancer risk while other diets have not shown any effect.  Extra virgin olive oil is made using no heat so it has the benefit of retaining chemicals that are lost in the more processed olive oils.  Researchers believe that these chemicals could be responsible for the suppression of the breast cancer gene. In another study, a low-fat diet high in fruits, vegetables, and fiber has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer. The diet exceeded the usual recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day and was thought to lower the concentrations of circulating estrogen which could contribute to breast cancer recurrence in the study group. If you have a family history of breast cancer or have been treated for breast cancer,consider changing your diet to include extra virgin olive oil in place of other oils, eat a low-fat diet, and increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and fiber.

BMC Cancer 2008; Web MD 2008; Journal of Clinical Oncology 2008