An ingredient in olive oil may lower the chances of breast cancer in women who are at higher risk. The oil reduces the density of breast tissue, which can be a risk factor for the cancer.
The oil's active ingredient is hydroxytyrosol, which has reduced breast tissue density in laboratory tests on cell cultures.
Now researchers are beginning a year-long clinical trial on 100 women, half of whom are pre-menstrual and the remainder post-menopausal. The research team, from Houston Methodist Cancer Centre, will give all of the women a 25 mg capsule of hydroxytyrosol for a year to see if it can reduce breast tissue density.
A one per cent reduction in breast tissue translates into a two per cent reduction in risk, says lead researcher Tejal Patel.
Olive oil has many proven health benefits, and has already been shown to reduce the chances of heart disease, high blood pressure and even stroke. It is one of the most powerful antioxidants with no known toxic effects.
(Source: Houston Methodist Cancer Centre)