Frying Vegetables in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Recommended for Men With Prostate Cancer

Daily consumption of extra virgin olive oil can increase the absorption of compounds with anticancer properties.

Nov. 13, 2017
By Daniel Dawson

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A new pilot study rec­om­mends adding extra vir­gin olive oil to the diets of men with prostate cancer.

The study found that adding extra vir­gin olive oil to the plant-based diet rec­om­mended by the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), pro­duced sim­i­lar weight loss results as well as helped to increase the absorp­tion of com­pounds with anti­cancer properties.

Effective dietary advice for decreas­ing prostate can­cer risk and pro­gres­sion should include healthy fat.- Mary Flynn, Brown University Miriam Hospital

For men who have low-risk prostate can­cer, the PCF rec­om­mends weight loss as a way of reduc­ing the risk of can­cer recur­rence and metastasis. 

Being over­weight is the great­est lifestyle risk fac­tor for a poor prog­no­sis,” said Mary Flynn, the lead researcher on the study.
See Also: Olive Oil Health Benefits

The PCF also rec­om­mends fruits and veg­eta­bles that are high in carotenoid con­tent and glu­cosi­no­late, nat­ural com­pounds with strong can­cer pro­tec­tion traits. However, the foun­da­tion’s dietary rec­om­men­da­tions say noth­ing about adding extra vir­gin olive oil to sup­ple­ment fruit and veg­etable intake. 

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Carotenoids require fat in order to be prop­erly absorbed, while water-based prepa­ra­tions lose some of the glu­cosi­no­lates in veg­eta­bles such as broc­coli and kale. Researchers con­duct­ing the study sug­gested cook­ing these veg­eta­bles in extra vir­gin olive oil as a healthy alternative. 

Effective dietary advice for decreas­ing prostate can­cer risk and pro­gres­sion should include healthy fat to pre­pare the can­cer pro­tec­tive veg­eta­bles to max­i­mize absorp­tion of carotenoids and pos­si­bly the glu­cosi­no­lates,” Flynn wrote in the study. 

The study also noted that men in Greece and Spain, many of whom tra­di­tion­ally con­sume an olive oil enriched Mediterranean diet, have low rates of prostate cancer. 

Studies show that the health ben­e­fits (from extra vir­gin olive oil con­sump­tion) start at two table­spoons per day,” Flynn said. I selected three table­spoons as I thought it was a rea­son­able amount to ask the par­tic­i­pants to con­sume each day and would be likely to show benefit.” 

The study, which was con­ducted by the Miriam Hospital Department of Medicine in Providence, Rhode Island, asked some par­tic­i­pants to fol­low a plant-based olive oil diet and oth­ers to fol­low the PCF diet for eight weeks. At the end of the eight weeks, the par­tic­i­pants switched diets for another eight weeks.

After con­sum­ing both diets, par­tic­i­pants were asked to select one of the diets and con­tinue to con­sume it for an addi­tional six months. 

The results of the study found that weight loss for both diets was about the same. However, the diet that included extra vir­gin olive oil resulted in lower lev­els of insulin and fast­ing glu­cose than the foun­da­tion’s diet.

There is a pos­i­tive rela­tion­ship between fast­ing insulin to prostate can­cer devel­op­ment and both blood glu­cose and insulin resis­tance are pos­i­tively related to can­cer mor­tal­ity,” Flynn wrote in the study. Daily con­sump­tion of extra vir­gin olive oil may help improve sur­vivor­ship for cancer.”

For the pur­poses of the study, Flynn did not ask how par­tic­i­pants con­sumed the extra vir­gin olive oil. However, she said other stud­ies had shown evi­dence that cook­ing veg­eta­bles into extra vir­gin olive oil may make them healthier. 

This study… did show that cook­ing the food into the olive oil was more ben­e­fi­cial than just pour­ing olive oil on the food,” she said. Also, cook­ing veg­eta­bles in olive oil has been shown to increase the phe­nol con­tent of the veg­eta­bles com­pared to cook­ing them in water, so that would mean cook­ing veg­eta­bles into olive oil would make them healthier.”

Seventeen par­tic­i­pants com­pleted the study and Flynn said she believes the log­i­cal next steps would be to repeat the study with a larger group of participants. 

There were some trends that may become more sig­nif­i­cant, should more men be stud­ied,” she said. I think that there also should be more research inves­ti­gat­ing the role of extra vir­gin olive oil in can­cer pre­ven­tion and treat­ment as I think there is great poten­tial for benefit.”





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