Here’s the latest eye-catching headline, courtesy of NPR, touting the potential health benefits of olive oil and nuts: “Hey, Fellas, Olive Oil And Nuts Tied To Prostate Cancer Survival.”
The online article was referring to a study appearing in JAMA Internal Medicine. It suggests men with prostate cancer who consumed a diet rich in vegetable fats – like those found in olive oil and nuts – may be likely less likely to have the disease spread.
The new study tracked 4,577 men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer that hadn’t spread. The men completed questionnaires every four years on how often they ate or drank more than 100 different types of foods and beverages.
Researchers found that men who replaced 10 percent of the calories from carbohydrates (like rice, bread, and potatoes) with vegetable fat (such as olive or canola oil) faced a 29 percent lower risk of lethal prostate cancer. It also showed that these men faced a 26 percent lower chance of dying from any cause.
In addition, researchers found that the men faced an 18 percent lower risk of developing localized prostate cancer by adding an ounce of nuts a day to their diets.
“The benefit was really when you were replacing refined carbohydrates with (things like) olive oil and nuts,” the study’s lead author, Erin Richmond of the University of California, San Francisco, told Reuters Health. According to the news agency, Richmond explained that vegetable fats contain antioxidants and may reduce inflammation in the body, making it tougher for cancer to spread.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. It also is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, behind only lung cancer. Nearly 2.5 million men in the United States suffer from prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society said there will be about 238,590 new cases of prostate cancer this year and about 29,720 will die from the disease.
Among the findings of other recent research into olive oil and nuts:
- A study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry suggested that consuming additional extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts may help older people’s brain power – more so, apparently, than a low-fat diet.
- A study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested a Mediterranean diet – particularly one rich with extra virgin olive oil and nuts – lowers the risk of stroke and other heart problems by 30 percent among high-risk individuals.