Doctors have been urging Americans to consume more olive oil for years. Studies have shown that olive oil lowers your risk of heart disease, and can fend off memory loss.
Now there's another reason to pour it on.
A study found that adding four tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil a day in combination with a Mediterranean diet could cut your risk of breast cancer by more than two-thirds. The study looked at over 4,000 Spanish women with an average age of 67 and a body mass index of 30 (so they were overweight). The study followed them for six years, and found that those who consumed more olive oil lowered their breast-cancer risk by 68 percent.
The Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fish, vegetables, fruits, and beans, has already gotten the stamp of approval from experts because it's good for the heart. But adding more extra-virgin oil may just boost its benefits, though scientists aren't sure why. It may be the chemical compounds in the oil, one of which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Just remember to buy the freshest oil you can by looking at the harvest date and/or the expiration date on the bottle. Unlike wine, olive oils don't age well, and start to lose their healthful properties the longer the bottle sits on the shelf.