Have you ever faced a moment in life that felt like a sudden jolt, urging you to re-evaluate everything? That was me when I received my breast cancer diagnosis. Yet, amidst this storm, I stumbled upon a ray of hope, a golden elixir – extra virgin olive oil.
Life is unpredictable, but our choices? They’re ours to make. Amidst the myriad of diets and health fads, there stands a timeless champion – extra virgin olive oil. An ingredient that can be a beacon of health for everyone, regardless of background, ethnicity or current eating habits.
When illness strikes, it doesn’t just cripple the patient; it shatters families. As a mother, my heart knew the despair of seeing a sick child. But seeing that same heartbreak mirrored in my son’s eyes as he watched me struggle was soul-crushing. These moments were more challenging than any chemotherapy session.
So, I embarked on a quest. A quest not just for my survival, but for a life brimming with health, vitality, and most importantly, happiness.
Determined to fight, I delved deep into the science of food and uncovered the medicinal wonders of the Mediterranean diet, brimming with the gold of extra virgin olive oil. Melding this age-old wisdom with modern medicine, I wrestled with my disease, armed with newfound resilience. I faced my biggest battle equipped with nature’s bounty. And the result? A resurgence in health, strength, and spirit.
I wrestled with my disease, armed with newfound resilience.
This life-affirming shift in my eating habits was my ally through gruelling treatments, helping me emerge not just as a survivor but a rejuvenated soul, more alive than ever!
The Science Behind Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Why is extra virgin olive oil so special?
Extra virgin olive oil, often termed ‘liquid gold’, has been at the heart of Mediterranean diets for centuries. But why has it garnered such reverence, not just as a culinary delight, but also as a health elixir? Let’s delve into its remarkable properties:
1. Rich in Antioxidants:
Extra virgin olive oil is packed with antioxidants, notably vitamin E and phenolic compounds. Antioxidants are essential because:
• They combat oxidative stress: Oxidative stress is a result of an imbalance between free radicals (harmful molecules) and antioxidants in the body. This imbalance can damage our cells and is linked to aging, inflammation, and various diseases, including cancer.
• They support cellular repair: By neutralising free radicals, antioxidants prevent cellular damage and support the repair of cells that may have been compromised by oxidative stress.
2. Anti-inflammatory Properties:
Extra virgin olive oil boasts compounds like oleocanthal, which has natural anti-inflammatory effects comparable to some over-the-counter drugs.
• The Role of Inflammation in Health: Chronic inflammation, often silent, can set the stage for several illnesses. It’s implicated in heart diseases, diabetes, and certain types of cancers.
• Inflammation and Tumours: There’s emerging evidence suggesting that inflammation might aid the growth of tumours, by supplying them with blood and aiding their spread. Thus, natural anti-inflammatories, like those found in olive oil, can potentially counteract this process.
There’s emerging evidence suggesting that inflammation might aid the growth of tumours.
3. Monounsaturated Fats:
Extra virgin olive oil is predominantly made of monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid.
• Benefits Over Other Fats: Unlike saturated fats, which can raise bad cholesterol levels, monounsaturated fats can help lower bad cholesterol while preserving good cholesterol, leading to better heart health.
• Link to Breast Cancer: Several studies suggest that a higher intake of monounsaturated fats, especially from plant sources like olive oil, correlates with a lower risk of developing breast cancer. The exact mechanism remains under investigation, but the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of olive oil likely play a part.
Studies suggest that a higher intake of monounsaturated fats, especially from plant sources like olive oil, correlates with a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
In summary, extra virgin olive oil isn’t just a flavour enhancer; it’s a symphony of compounds working in harmony to bolster our health. Integrating it into our diets could be one of the most delicious decisions we make for our well-being.
Breast Cancer: Delving into the Numbers
Breast cancer has, unfortunately, become a significant concern worldwide, profoundly affecting millions of women and their families. Let's unpack its prevalence and its impact through the lens of data from the World Health Organisation (WHO):
1. A Global Concern:
Breast cancer stands out as the leading cancer among women, not only in developed nations but also in developing countries where it often gets diagnosed in advanced stages due to lack of awareness and early detection facilities.
2. Alarming Statistics:
According to the WHO:
Breast cancer accounted for approximately 2.3 million new cases and 685,000 deaths in 2020 alone.
Roughly half of all breast cancers occur in women with no specific risk factors other than sex and age.
Breast cancer occurs in every country in the world.
Approximately 0.5–1% of breast cancers occur in men.
This staggering number is not just a statistic; it represents women and men from various walks of life, each with her unique story, dreams, and aspirations.
In a significant shift, breast cancer surpassed lung cancer in 2020 to become the most diagnosed cancer. This transition underscores the urgency to address breast cancer on a global scale, not just in terms of medical treatment but also in awareness, prevention, and early detection.
Breast cancer surpassed lung cancer in 2020 to become the most diagnosed cancer.
3. Mortality and Survival Rates:
While the incidence is rising, it's crucial to note that survival rates for breast cancer vary dramatically across the world. Factors like access to timely and effective treatment, early detection, and post-treatment care play a significant role. In developed countries, more than 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer survive for at least five years. However, in more under-resourced nations, the five-year survival rate can drop to as low as 40%.
4. Risk Factors and Prevention:
Scientific research has shown that while genetic factors play a role, lifestyle and environmental factors can significantly influence breast cancer risk. Maintaining a Mediterranean diet high in extra virgin olive oil, regular exercise, avoiding tobacco and limiting alcohol, and regular screening can aid in prevention and early detection.
While genetic factors play a role, lifestyle and environmental factors can significantly influence breast cancer risk. Maintaining a Mediterranean diet high in extra virgin olive oil, can aid in prevention and early detection.
5. The Importance of Screening:
Regular mammography screenings can reduce breast cancer mortality by detecting tumours at an early, more treatable stage. This is particularly vital, as early-stage breast cancers are often asymptomatic.
In essence, while the numbers present a grim reality, they also serve as a clarion call to action. Greater awareness, timely interventions, global collaboration, and the relentless work of researchers, medical professionals, and advocacy groups can pave the way for a future where breast cancer's impact is considerably diminished
The Journey From Darkness To Light
That transformative journey led me to olive groves in sun-kissed lands. The farmers I met weren’t just cultivating trees; they were nurturing legacies, traditions, and a philosophy centered on wellness. Their dedication, their passion for producing world-class olive oil, ignited a spark within me.
That’s how Aroma di Olio was born - out of my personal quest for authentic, healing olive oils. I was disheartened to find no local store could provide the guidance or the quality I sought, pushing me to curate from abroad. But in that challenge, I discovered a profound purpose: to bridge the gap, to educate, and to guide others on their own wellness journeys.
Today, I wear many hats - from a passionate advocate for including healthy fats in our diets to a certified Olive Oil Sommelier & Consultant. But most importantly, I’m your guide, helping you navigate the world of authentic oils (and now vinegars too!), ensuring you get only the good stuff.
So, come aboard this voyage towards a healthier, joy-filled life. Together, let’s make every moment count, every meal nourishing, and every day one step closer to complete wellbeing.
But while we celebrate the wonders of olive oil, let’s not forget an essential message: Regular health check-ups can be life-saving. I urge every woman to take proactive steps, get checked, and prioritise her well-being.
Regular health check-ups can be life-saving. I urge every woman to take proactive steps, get checked, and prioritise her well-being.
Thank you for being part of my story. Let’s write yours together.