Olives and olive oil form a large part of Mediterranean diets which have shown to offer a host of health benefits. Now, adding to these health benefits seems to be proof that olives could possibly help in keeping cancer at bay. Researchers at the University of Granada have discovered a compound in olives that helps in preventing the deadly disease.
Maslinic acid, the compound which is present in the leaf and the olive skin wax extracted from alpeorujo (crushed olive pulp) that can regulate cell growth and prevents their appearance.
The acid controls the hyperplasia, proliferation of cells within an organ or tissue and hypertrophy, the increase of the size of an organ or in a select area of the tissue, typical of this disease.
Unlike other anti-carcinogenic products, maslinic acid is a natural compound and is thus less toxic. This was said by the lead researchers Professor Jose Antonio Lupianez Cara, of the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Ph D student Fernando Jesus Reyes Zurita.
Besides, it only acts on carcinogenic cells, whose pH is more acid than usual and can inhibit cancer appearance in those cells with a higher predisposition to develop it.
As of now, the researchers have only analyzed the effect of maslinic acid in the treatment of colon cancer. However, they have said that it can be used in the case of different types of tumors as well.