A Rutgers nutritional scientist and two cancer biologists at New York City’s Hunter College have discovered that an ingredient in extra virgin olive oil, oleocanthal, destroys human cancer cells without harming healthy ones.
As soon as the researchers applied it to cancer cells in the lab, the cells died very quickly – within 30 minutes to 1 hour. Since programmed cell death takes between 16 and 24 hours, the scientists realized that there was another factor that was causing the cancer cells to break down.
They discovered that oleocanthal works by rupturing a part of the cancer cell called the lysosome, which acts as the cell’s waste dump, releasing enzymes that cause it to die.
The cancer cells were being killed by their own enzymes! The oleocanthal was puncturing lysosomes, the vesicles inside the cancer cells that store the cell’s waste. Lysosomes are larger in cancer cells than in healthy cells, and they contain a lot of waste.
However, oleocanthal does not harm healthy cells – it merely suspends their life cycles temporarily, like put them to sleep.
What is to follow is to be tested beyond laboratory conditions and show that oleocanthal can destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors in living animals.
That’s why following a Mediterranean diet has long been regarded as the key to a long and healthy life.
And now scientists may have found one of the key reasons why.
Healthy foods clean out the blood vessels, especially in the penis, meaning men can make lifestyle choices rather than relying on Viagra.
One such study last year found eating a Mediterranean diet increases life expectancy by protecting the DNA from damage.
Harvard academics studied 4,676 middle-aged women comparing their typical eating habits with the make-up of their cells.
Importantly, they looked at their telomeres – biological caps which are found at the ends of chromosomes that protect the inside of DNA.
As we get older, our telomeres get progressively shorter, causing the DNA to become damaged and raising the odds of age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’ s, diabetes and heart disease.
The research found that women whose diets were generally low in fat and high in fruit and veg had longer telomeres.
But this was even more pronounced for those who followed a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, vegetable, nuts and pulses.
There are many large studies showing that people who follow a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, have a much lower risk of developing stroke, the second biggest killer in developed countries.
It has numerous benefits for heart health. The beneficial effects are greatly increased when combined with fish oil.
Extra virgin olive oil has anti-bacterial properties and has been shown to be particularly effective against Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer.
It lowers blood pressure, protects LDL particles from oxidation, and has beneficial effects on many other risk factors.
Consuming large amounts of olive oil does not appear to increase the likelihood of weight gain. It may even be beneficial for weight loss.
Some studies suggest that olive oil can help fight Alzheimer’s disease, but more research is needed to confirm this.
Both observational studies and clinical trials suggest that olive oil, combined with a Mediterranean diet, can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
There is preliminary evidence that olive oil may help prevent cancer, but this needs to be studied properly.
Olive oil can help reduce joint pain and swelling from rheumatoid arthritis. This fatty acid is believed to have many beneficial effects and is a healthy choice for cooking.
Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants, some of which have powerful biological effects.
Finally, olive oil contains nutrients that can fight inflammation.