Why Greeks Get 2X Less Cancer

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Cancer Rate, Healthy Living Magazine

Cancer Rate, Healthy Living Magazine

Greece has a cancer rate of less than half of the US and for good reasons. A high consumption of olive oil certainly replaces the more cell toxic polyunsaturated fats that Americans use such as canola, safflower and corn oil. Since ancient times Greeks have also used thyme oil, focus of clinical studies, in the cooking of their food. The Greeks have been taking advantage of the biocidical properties of thymol, a compound that makes up about 20-50% of thyme oil. Thymol destroys harmful organisms, such as bacterias, malicious microbes, and even cancer cells.

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Thymol has been the subject of many scientific studies, one of the most recent of which proved its effectiveness against cancer cells. During the four month study, the researchers tested the power of thyme against different human cancer cell lines. In their report, published in Food Microbiology, they concluded that thyme was the most effective in battling lung cancer cells, oral cancer cells and ovarian cancer cells. The research noted that mixing the thyme oil with olive oil enhanced its cancer fighting properties, which they attribute to hydroxytyrosol, a potent anti-cancer compound found in the pit fruit.

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Thyme has also long been used in traditional and Ayurvedic medicines, thanks to powerful antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. These strong medicinal virtues come mainly from its essential oils, which can be extracted through a simple distillation process from the fresh flowers and stems of the plant.

A larger study was recently carried out by cancer researchers at Celal Bayar University in Turkey. The study, published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, was designed to explore the effect of wild thyme on cell death and epigenetic events in breast cancer cells, finding the plant “may be a promising candidate in the development of novel therapeutic drugs for breast cancer treatment.”

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Thyme can be incorporated in a diet in many ways, the most simple of which is mixing essential oil of thyme into a cooking oil like olive oil. With the same oil, you can mix it with a dark vinegar or apple vinegar to make a topping for a leafy salad. The dried herb can be included in a dry rub which will bring any steak, chicken or mushrooms to an aromatic flavor.

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