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Olive oil: useful for reducing the risk of cancer

This was revealed by a joint investigation by the Umberto Veronesi Foundation Ets and Irccs Neuromed

An Italian study shows the effects of olive oil consumption in reducing the risk of mortality not only from cardiovascular diseases, but also from tumors. The results collected by the Umberto Veronesi Ets-Irccs Neuromed Foundation Joint Platform by analyzing the data of 23,000 people followed for twelve years. It is one of the main products of the Mediterranean diet and olive oil has long attracted interest in the scientific field also for its effects on health. New research, recently published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that its regular consumption may be associated with reduced mortality not only for cardiovascular diseases, but also for cancers.

The study was carried out as part of the Umberto Project, conducted by the Joint Platform Umberto Veronesi Ets Foundation - Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of the IRCCS Neuromed of Pozzilli (IS), in collaboration with the Clinica Mediterranea Cardiocentro of Naples and the Lum University "Giuseppe Degennaro" of Casamassima (BA). The research work was conducted with the non-conditioning contribution of the Monini company. The objective was to clarify the link between olive oil consumption and the risk of cancer mortality, an aspect that has so far been unclear to epidemiologists.

“The benefits of consuming olive oil are widely documented in the literature, especially in relation to cardiovascular health,” says Emilia Ruggiero , first author of the study and researcher funded by Fondazione Umberto Veronesi Ets at the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of Irccs Neuromed – However, little is known about the effects of olive oil in relation to tumors, and most of the available data comes from non-Mediterranean populations. This is why we wanted to investigate the role of this key food of the Mediterranean diet also in relation to cancer mortality, using data collected by the Moli-sani study, one of the largest population cohorts in Europe”.

The studied group included 22,892 people, including 11,976 women and 10,916 men with an average age of 55.4 years at the time of inclusion in the study, who on average consumed 23.3 grams of olive oil per day. Those who consumed more olive oil reported fewer chronic health problems, consumed more fruits, vegetables, legumes and fish, and drank less alcohol.

During a period of more than 12 years of follow-up, 2566 deaths occurred, including 939 from cancer, 910 from heart disease and 723 from other causes. Consuming three or more tablespoons of olive oil per day has been associated with a lower chance of death from any cause. Biomarker analysis showed that higher olive oil consumption reduced the risk of mortality from all causes and cancer by 21.2% and 13.7%, respectively, compared to lower consumption ( less than or equal to one and a half tablespoons).

The study, considering the eating habits of the participants, revealed that consuming more olive oil is linked to lower mortality rates not only from heart disease, but also from cancers and all other causes of death, regardless of the overall quality of the diet .

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