olive oil

There are plenty of olive oil benefits. But this latest one may surprise you.

Olive oil is prized for its good fats that support heart and brain health. A good grassy, fruity olive oil is also valued for its incredibly rich and robust flavor. But can it also offer protection against the damage caused by genetically modified foods? A new study says yes.

Research has found GMOs, along with the pesticides and herbicides used on genetically modified crops, can cause a number of health problems including developmental and reproductive issues, metabolic disorders and DNA damage. They’ve even been linked to cancer.

But in the latest study, published in the journal Nutrients, rats fed a diet of GMO soybean oil and extra virgin olive oil showed less DNA damage to their spleens from the GMO soybean oil than those not given the olive oil.

“We can conclude that adding EV olive oil to the diet of rats appears effective in inhibiting oxidative damage and may act as a protective agent against chronic diseases such as liver fibrosis, hyperlipidemia and diabetes,” the researchers noted.

“In addition, EV olive oil may also have a protective function against carcinogenic processes. Further clinical studies are therefore required to determine whether the observations observed in our study translate to human conditions and illnesses,” they added.

Extra virgin olive oil showed the ability to normalize normochromatic erythrocytes (red blood cells) that were damaged by the genetically modified soybean oil. The researchers suspect the antioxidants in the olive oil, at least partially, were responsible for the reduced damage from the GMO soybean oil.

While the science is still out on the human health risks from eating genetically modified foods, at least as far as the U.S. government is concerned, there are studies that have found certain increased risks from consuming GMOs. And with no federal labeling laws in the U.S. to help consumers know if they’re eating genetically modified foods, it’s hard to even know how to avoid GMOs. But if olive oil benefits now do include cellular protection from GMOs, it’s sure to make not knowing whether we’re eating GMOs or not, a little bit easier to swallow, if not a bit tastier.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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