From kitchen to cure: Harness monounsaturated fats for breast cancer healing

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olive-oil-may-help-heal-breast-cancer(NaturalHealth365)  From the 1950s to just a few years ago, the “war on fat” was being waged in full force.  The negativity around fat, including healthy unsaturated and saturated fats, has not only created an entire multi-million dollar industry of “low fat” foods with questionable health benefits, but it has also led to a consistent paranoia around fat of all kinds – including the beneficial olive oil.

Fat myths are fading away – as evidence begins to mount: while some kinds of fats, such as trans fats, can be very harmful to the body, other types are absolutely essential for optimum health.  New research is also pointing to how monounsaturated fats such as olive oil can help women prevent and heal from breast cancer.

Cracking the fats dilemma: Saturated vs. monounsaturated – What’s best for your health?

A survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation found that 31% of Americans have changed their opinion about fats in general: 77% believe that saturated fats are worse for them than before.  Yet the remaining 23% percent believe they are healthier for them than before!  In reality, both camps are right.

Before we get into the benefits of monounsaturated fats, in particular for breast health, let’s clear up some definitions first.

What does the word “saturated” really mean when it comes to fat?  The term “saturated” refers to a fat’s chemical makeup; it simply means that the fat molecules are “saturated” with hydrogen molecules, so they have no double bonds between carbon molecules.  Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature and normally come from animal products such as beef, chicken, and lamb meats, butter, milk, and cheeses.

Palm oil and coconut oil also contain mostly saturated fats.

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Are saturated fats ‘good’ or ‘bad?’

Of course, the answer depends on who you talk to – which naturally adds to the confusion.  The American Heart Association (AHA) clumps all saturated fats together and recommends limiting intake of fat in general.  The AHA also states that “replacing foods that are high in saturated fat with healthier options can lower blood cholesterol levels and improve lipid profiles.”

On the other hand, common sense and new scientific discoveries point to the benefits of naturally-sourced saturated fats.  This makes sense.  After all, for how many thousands of years have human beings been consuming animal fat as part of a normal, healthy diet with no adverse side effects?  It has only been in the last sixty years or so that the world has seen heart disease and high cholesterol levels rise so dramatically.

A 2010 meta-analysis conducted by the Children’s Hospital Research Institute in Oakland, California, gathered data from 21 separate studies on close to 350,000 adults.  The researchers discovered that there was absolutely no difference between the risks of heart disease and stroke for people who ate the highest amounts of saturated fat and those who ate the lowest.

Couple this with the fact that some saturated fats, such as coconut oil, are true superfoods responsible for dozens of health benefits; it seems likely that we still have a long way to go in reversing the popular conception that all saturated fats should be avoided.

Finally, without going into too much detail, it is important to point out how politics has played a part in the demonization of fats in general.  The popular consensus that “all fats are bad” was created in the early 1950s with papers published by Dr. Ancel Keys, who had some questionable ties to the sugar industry, according to the documentary Sugar Coated.

In addition, in many cases, the “problem” with many saturated fats could really be other issues like, synthetic hormones, antibiotics and genetically manipulated foods that are fed to animals that people consume.  So much of the factory-farmed meats on the market today are quite toxic with unwanted chemicals given to very sick animals.

Why monounsaturated fat, like olive oil, is a must-have for breast cancer prevention

All that being said, there have also been some very convincing studies in recent years that have pointed to the consumption of monounsaturated fats, particularly for women who wish to practice breast cancer prevention.

“Monounsaturated” fats are fat molecules that “have one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule (also called a double-bond),” according to the AHA.  They are “healthy fats” that can be found in foods like avocados, olive oil, and nuts and are great alternatives to toxic and chemically-laden trans fats and refined polyunsaturated fats that are found in most processed foods.  Here are just a few studies that point to the health benefits of monounsaturated fats for those who are on a healthy breast journey:

  • A Swedish survey of over 60,000 women published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat had opposite effects on breast cancer risk.  While numerous studies have pointed to the fact that polyunsaturated fat can promote cancer, this study suggests that monounsaturated fat can have a protective effect on breast cancer.
  • A 2001 cohort survey published in the International Journal of Cancer concluded that substituting monounsaturated fat for polyunsaturated fat can decrease the risk of breast cancer, that monounsaturated fat intake can be inversely associated with breast cancer risk (i.e. it can lower it), and that a significant reduction in breast cancer has been observed in studies in Greece, Italy and Spain.
  • A study done by the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences in 2015 discovered that the substance oleocanthal, found in olive oil, has the ability to rupture parts of cancer cell walls, allowing these unhealthy cells to be killed by their own enzymes.

You can start including monounsaturated fats like olive oil in your diet NOW

While other foods also qualify as being high in monounsaturated fat, foods on the following list are optimal sources since they can easily be obtained in organic, raw form:

1. Olive oil
2. Sesame oil
3. Walnuts
4. Almonds (or organic, sugar-free almond butter)
5. Macadamia nuts (or organic, sugar-free macadamia nut butter)
6. Pistachios (or organic, sugar-free pistachio nut butter)
7. Black or green olives

The main thing to remember amidst all the new information about fats is that not all of them are bad for you!  The best way to prevent and heal from breast cancer through the foods you eat is to avoid trans fats and polyunsaturated fats at all costs, eat a moderate amount of grass fed, hormone-free animal fats, and load up on organic sources of monounsaturated fats that can help you prevent and even heal breast cancer.

Sources for this article include:

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