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Health Check: Benefits of extra virgin olive oil

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Health Check: Benefits of extra virgin olive oil.

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New research shows added benefits when you consume extra virgin olive oil.

Some call extra virgin olive oil a super food. It's a powerful antioxidant--warding off cancer. And believe it or not, this healthy fat actually helps you lose weight. And that is why Mary Flynn, a research dietitian from the Miriam Hospital decided to put it to the test in men with low risk prostate cancer who were prescribed weight loss.

"The study compared the two diets,” said Flynn. “The prostate cancer foundation diet to my diet which uses olive oil every day and vegetables but it has less animal products, less meat in it."

"And the recommendation is to consume nine servings a day of colorful fruits and vegetables, so colorful fruits and vegetables mean you'll be getting carotenoids which are very powerful at fighting cancer."

But, at the time of her study, she says the foundation's diet did not recommend extra virgin olive oil along with those servings of vegetables. Problem is:

"Carotenoids need fat to be absorbed," said Flynn.

Specifically, she says, extra virgin olive oil. Even now, the Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends only olive oil, not extra virgin. Mary says they are different. E-V-O-O gives you more of the cancer fighting nutrients. 18 men took part in her study.

"They ate the diet for eight weeks and then they switched over to the other diet," said Flynn.

"What it showed, which is interesting, I looked at them for their ability to lose weight and it showed that the weight loss was the same on both diets."

"What was interesting was when they were consuming the diet that contained extra virgin olive oil they had a lowering of their insulin and glucose and then this measurement that looks at how much insulin you need to keep your glucose low so those were all things that were very good as far as cancer risk."

Flynn has been a major proponent of the Mediterranean diet, rich in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. She recommends at least three tablespoons a day. Her pilot data research is published in the Journal of Cancer therapy and she plans to do larger studies.

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