New studies have revealed many unknown virtues of olive oil. Besides its antioxidant properties, it may also have the capacity of preventing the development of carcinogenic cells.
In Spain, a study team from the School of Science at the University of Granada analyzed the main components of 15 types of oils and concluded olive oil is the highest in polyphenols—chemical substances found in plants and considered to be natural antioxidants. Consequently, olive oil may help fight the process of cellular degeneration.
These scientists analyzed previous studies and pointed out that the incidence of cancer is by far lower in countries of Northern Europe, where the consumption of olive oil is high. Olive oil is an essential component of the Mediterranean Diet, which, despite its name, isn’t really a diet, but a series of healthy eating habits that are characteristic of the countries around the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea.
There are about 16 countries that share several gastronomic characteristics, despite their diverse cultures. Such characteristics include:
- A high consumption of fruits, vegetables, potatoes, beans, nuts, sesame seeds, and cereals
- The use of olive oil to cook and season meals
- Fish as a common food on their tables, while red meat is more sporadic
- Drinking wine with their meals
- Eating a large variety of foods, according to the season
- A high physical activity level
Within the previous characteristics, scientists have stated the consumption of olive oil is by far the most common denominator. Moreover, olive oil is the product that distinguishes Mediterranean cooking from that of other regions, which usually includes lard and other types of fats.
Therefore, supporting the conclusions of Granada, the European Food Information Council recommends the use of extra virgin olive oil to help the body fight abnormal cells.
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