Why should we care about this?
Because DNA damage caused by inflammation is essentially the biochemical mother of all disease.
In an article recently published in the August 2008 “Journal of American Nutrition”, researchers concluded that olive oil likely prevents cancer and aging by protecting DNA from damage.
The “phenolic compounds” in olive oil were studied and determined to inhibit the initial stages of cancer formation caused by “oxidative stress” (unstable molecules in our bodies that destroy healthy tissues resulting in inflammation and disease).
Damage to our DNA is exactly what causes both cancer AND aging, along with a myriad of other chronic conditions. The phenolic compounds in olive oil are shown to have a protective effect in vitro to our DNA. The more antioxidants we can include in our diet, the more we can PREVENT disease.
The good news about this “in vitro” or test tube study is that researchers believe that the amount of olive oil needed to prevent cancer is easily achievable in “in vivo” or real life doses!
Researchers concluded that, “Overall, these results suggest that [phenolic compounds] may efficiently prevent the initiation step of carcinogenesis in vivo, because the concentrations effective against the oxidative DNA damage could be easily reached with normal intake of olive oil.”
Hooray! What a wonderful, delicious cancer fighting treat for us to include in our diets. We already know that olive oil in the diet is important for preventing cardiovascular disease and inflammation, now we have yet another reason to make olive oil a major source of fat in our diet.
So how can you get more olive oil in your diet?
First of all, I always recommend buying extra virgin olive oil, the greener the better.
Next, keep in mind that olive oil is not good for baking as much as it is good for drizzling on already cooked foods such as breads, steamed veggies, salads, soups, and popcorn (yes it is delicious with organic sea salt and nutritional yeast).
To achieve the maximum anti-cancer and anti-aging benefits be sure to keep the temp below it’s smoking point of 350F. Best yet, avoid cooking it when at all possible.
Today’s Kitchen Table Fix: Put olive oil on your bread and veggies instead of butter. Always make your own salad dressing with olive oil and lemon or balsamic vinegar.
Reference: “Oxidative DNA Damage Is Prevented by Extracts of Olive Oil, Hydroxytyrosol, and Other Olive Phenolic Compounds in Human Blood Mononuclear Cells and HL60 Cells” J. Nutr. 138:1411-1416, August 2008.