Pizza gets a bad rap. I'm always being asked how I can eat so much pizza and not be worried about my health. (My cholesterol and vitals actually check out pretty well, thank you very much, haters.) So you know what I tell em? At least I'm not going to get prostate cancer! Of course, I'm a woman, but some new studies make a pretty good case that common pizza ingredients have preventative properties.
A new study by researchers at Long Island University which tested carvacrol—a key element of oregano—has yielded evidence that the compound is an effective fighter against cancer cells. Specifically, carvacrol is able to catalyze apoptosis, or "cell suicide," within prostrate cancer cells.
Here's the scoop from LA Weekly:
"We know that oregano possesses antibacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties, but its effects on cancer cells really elevate the spice to the level of a super-spice like turmeric," says assistant professor of pharmacology Dr. Supriya Bavadekar. Efforts are underway to determine precisely how this ingredient of oregano causes the cancer cell suicide, however this isn't the first time that pizza has been identified as having anti-cancer properties. In fact, previous researchers have demonstrated that lycopene, a component of tomato sauce, may limit cancer risk as well.
Although the experiments are still in the early stages, the initial data shows carvacrol could have enormous potential as an anti-cancer agent. "If the study continues to yield positive results, this super-spice may represent a very promising therapy for patients with prostate cancer," Dr. Bavadekar said."
So eat up, friends, just don't forget the extra sauce and oregano.