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Research: Olive Oil Prevents DNA Damage

U.S. researchers found that olive oil helps prevent cancer and aging by protecting DNA from excessive damage. A normal consumption of olive oil on a daily basis is sufficient protection.

The study, published in the August 2008 issue of Journal of American Nutrition, concludes that olive oil likely prevents cancer and aging by protecting DNA from damage. The phenolic compounds in olive oil were found to inhibit the initial stages of cancer formation caused by oxidative stress. The phenolic compounds seem to have a protective effect on our DNA with the help of anti-oxidants found in olive oil.

To achieve this, we don’t have to take unreasonable amount of olive oil; just the normal consumption is sufficient. The researchers stated in their :

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.

Olive oil is already proven to prevent cardiovascular disease and inflammation, which cause the most harm to DNA. With these benefits and anti-cancer properties, it becomes a no-brainer to start using olive oil regularly in our cooking.

Dr. Nicole Sundene suggests the use of extra virgin olive oil instead of other olive oil varieties. She recommends that we use olive oil mostly for drizzling on already-cooked foods such as salads, soups, breads, steamed veggies. And she advises against using olive oil for baking; otherwise it loses its anti-cancer and anti-aging properties if the temperatures are above 350 degrees.

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.

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