A team lead by Professor Marina Ziche found that extra virgin olive oil contains a molecule which is a powerful anti-cancer agent which had potential to counter colon cancer.
Ziche and her colleagues presented details of their research in Florence on Wednesday.
They said their research had identified the molecular mechanism that “contributes to inhibiting the progression of colon cancer” .
The research team stressed that not all olive oils were the same and extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany with a Protected Geographic Indication (IGP) denomination had the highest concentration of cancer-fighting polyphenols.
While standard extra virgin olive oil contains 100-250mg of the polyphenols, certain types of Tuscan olive oil contains at least 450mg.
The team recommends 40g or up to four spoons of extra virgin olive oil a day while the European Union suggests a daily intake of 20g of fresh extra virgin olive oil to prevent cardiovascular problems.
The research was financed by the Tuscan IGP Extra Virgin Olive Oil Consortium.