The Mediterranean Diet Lowers the Risk for Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Mediterranean Diet

Prostate Cancer Most Common Type of Cancer and Second Cause of Death in US Men

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer found in men in the United States and is the second cause for cancer death among men after lung cancer. In 2014 in the US, 172,258 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 28,343 men died from prostate cancer.

Aggressive Prostate Cancer (Gleason Score Higher than 6)

Fortunately, some prostate cancers are so slow-growing that they do not need to be treated, but only watched. However, some prostate cancers do become fast growing and aggressive, which can be predicted by a Gleason score greater than 6 and these need to be treated.

The Mediterranean Diet is Associated with a Decreased Rate of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

A study published February, 2018 in the Journal of Urology suggests that the Mediterranean dietary pattern is associated with a decreased risk for aggressive prostate cancer. The study was carried out on men ages 20-85 who were residing in seven different provinces in Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Asturias, Huelva, Cantabria, Valencia and Granada) from September, 2008 to December, 2013. The study compared three different diets to see which, if any, could be associated with a lower rate of aggressive prostate cancer. Only the Mediterranean Diet showed a lower risk for developing aggressive prostate cancer. The three diets were:

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is composed of a high consumption of fruits, vegetables (including boiled potatoes), legumes, fish, olives (23%), olive oil (71%), whole grains usually as bread and a lower intake of juices, red meat and dairy products.

The Prudent Diet

The Prudent Diet is composed of vegetables, fruits, juices, whole grains and a high consumption of low-fat dairy products. This diet appears to be favored by people trying to lose weight.

The Western Diet

The Western Diet consists of a high consumption of high-fat dairy foods, refined grains, processed meat, red meat, sauces, caloric drinks, sweets and fast foods. Research has shown that the Western diet is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

The Mediterranean Diet and other Cancers

The countries where the Mediterranean dietary patterns abound have lower rates of cancer than Scandinavia, the UK and the US. The Mediterranean Diet has also been associated with a lower risk for stomach, colorectal, endometrial and breast cancer.

Oleocanthol in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Destroyed Cancer Cells in Culture in 30 Minutes

A study published January 23, 2015 in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, pin points that it is the oleocanthol (OC), a phenolic compound in extra virgin olive oil that gives the Mediterranean Diet its ability to lower rates of cancer. The researchers from Hunter College of the City University of New York, tested oleocanthol on cultures of cancer cells and within 30 minutes the oleocanthol destroyed the cancer cells by lysosomal membrane permeabilization. The OC did not destroy normal cells, but arrested them in a way that was reversible.


Research shows that Mediterranean Dietary Patterns, especially using extra-virgin-olive oil (EVOO) as the only oil and fat, may prevent several kinds of cancers. Scientists have shown that oleocanthol found in extra virgin olive oil can destroy cancer cells in cultures in the lab. However, further research must be done to show if oleocanthol could be used in animals or people to attack cancer cells. For the moment, extra virgin olive oil and the Mediterranean Diet can only be seen as a way to lower the risk for several kinds of cancer. If someone already has cancer, they must be treated. There is no evidence showing that the Mediterranean Diet can cure cancers, but there is only evidence showing that the Mediterranean Diet may lower the risk for cancer.

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