ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Mediterranean Diet: Lower Rates Of Cancer

Updated on October 26, 2009

Olive oil and the Mediterranean diet are also associated with lower rates of cancer. There are many explanations for why this might be so and it seems that a phytochemical called squalene may provide yet another explanation. Americans consume only about 30 mg of squalene a day. However because squalene is present in olive oil, albeit in small amounts, Mediterraneans often consume between 200 to 400 mg per day.

In animal experiments squalene has been effective in inhibiting colon, lung and skin cancers. It has been proposed that squalene achieves this anti-cancer effect by its anti-oxidant activity or by its effect on certain cancer promoting genes.

Olive oil contains approximately 0.2 - 0.7% squalene. It has been proposed that one way squalene mediates its anti-carcinogenic effect is by inhibition of Ras farnesylation.

This interesting compound from which cholesterol is made is not only found in olive oil, it can also be found in the livers of very deep sea fish and may help them survive in oxygen deprived environments. It has long been a traditional Eastern medicine, especially in Japan and Korea, and in the future we may find that it inhibits cancer development in humans.

Research studies have found that there are significantly lower rates of cancer in the Mediterranean region as compared with the US, the UK and Scandinavian countries. Most of this difference can be attributed to lower rates of colon, breast, uterine, and prostate cancer.

These four cancers have been linked to low consumption of fruits and vegetables and an excessive consumption of meat. The Mediterranean diet by contrast is rich in fruits and vegetables and low in the consumption of meat. Furthermore the olive oil consumed in the Mediterranean diet has, itself, been associated with lower rates of cancer.

The authors estimate that up to 25% of colon cancer, 15% of breast cancer and 10% of prostate, pancreas and uterine cancers could be prevented if Western Countries adopted the traditional healthy Mediterranean diet.

Esophageal cancer is a highly aggressive malignancy. Researchers studied the association between squamous cell esophageal cancer and different dietary patterns in three areas of northern Italy.

The researchers identified 304 cases of esophageal cancer and compared the diets of these individuals with the diets of 743 individuals with no history no history of this malignancy. They interviewed each individual documenting the intake of different kinds of foods, types of fat, and alcohol.

Consumption of pasta, rice, poultry, raw vegetables, and fruits were related to lower rates of espophageal cancer. Consumption of olive oil was also associated with lower rates of this malignancy, while butter was strongly associated with increased risk of esophageal cancer.

This was a case controlled study. The controls were hospitalized with acute non-neoplastic conditions not related to smoking, alcohol consumption or long term diet modification. They controlled for smoking, age, sex, education, area of residence, total calories and alcohol intake. A peculiar association was observed between esophageal cancer and soup consumption. One wonders whether this is related to repeated physical trauma of excessive heat.

This study suggests, once again, that the olive oil and the Mediterranean diet play an important role in the relatively lower rates of cancer in the Mediterranean region.

Continued In The Mediterranean Diet: Oral & Prostate Cancer Effects

Back To Start

Disclaimer: The information on this Hub page does not constitute medical, legal, commercial, product, and/or service advice or endorsement of any vendor, supplier and/or brand, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the author. Listing of an entity or service on this Hub page is not a warranty of the quality or efficacy of the products or services furnished by any entity. The author is not directly compensated by any entity other than the advertising placement services shown on this page.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)