Miriam Hospital Study: Olive Oil Diet Benefits Prostate Cancer Survivors

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


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Researchers at The Miriam Hospital say a plant-based, olive oil diet can improve the health of men with recurrent prostate cancer. Men treated for recurrent prostate cancer sometimes develop metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. 

The findings were presented Sunday at the American Dietetic Association’s 2010 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Boston that the risks factors of this syndrome can be improved with foods that improve health such as olive oil, vegetables and nuts.

The olive oil diet

Eleven men who followed the olive oil diet for eight weeks lost an average of 12.4 pounds and experienced significant improvements in their metabolic syndrome risk factors. The diet included a minimum of three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil daily, as well as four servings of vegetables a day. Nuts were allowed and poultry and seafood were limited to eight ounces a day. 

To complement their weight loss, the men shed an average of two inches of their waistline and experienced significant improvements in their triglyceride levels. Metabolic syndrome has become ever more prevalent in the United States, affecting more than 50 million Americans.

Just two tablespoons makes a difference

Lead author Mary Flynn, PhD, RD, LDN, a research dietitian at The Miriam Hospital says the health benefits of this diet begin with about two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day. Olive oil is a natural juice, which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Extra virgin olive oil not only makes the diet tasty but keeps you feeling fuller longer because it is a healthy fat. Other benefits include a decrease in blood pressure, fasting insulin, glucose, oxidation and inflammation – all risk factors for heart disease and some cancers.

“It’s possible that someday we may be able to recommend a diet that will prevent the development of metabolic syndrome in men being treated for recurrent prostate cancer, which would greatly decrease their risk of heart disease,” said Flynn.

Flynn, an assistant professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University conducted a separate study this year that show a similar olive oil diet produced greater weight loss in breast cancer survivors compared to a more traditional low-fat diet.

For more information, go to the Miriam Hospital Web site, here.


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