The Mediterranean Diet is a wonderful way to eat. It helps stave off chronic diseases, builds a healthy immune and keeps the weight off. But now a new study shows it may help reduce the risk of breast cancer. A new study out of Spain found that women asked to follow this way of eating especially with a high consumption of olive oil was integrated were 68% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who were advised only to reduce the amount of fat in their diets.
The study consisted of almost 4200 post-menopausal women who never had breast cancer and asked to follow one of three diets, one being the Mediterranean. After about 5 years, 35 women had developed breast cancer.
Researchers also observed a slight decrease in the risk for women in the nut group but this was not statistically significant. This study was published in the JAMA Internal Medicine September issue
This way of eating contains many components that have suggest anti-tumor effects. Olive oil and nuts have been shown to be rich in compounds called polyphenols which have been shown in lab studies to fight cancer.
This particular study showed women who had a greater percentage of calories from extra-virgin olive oil lowered their risk. They did note that they are unsure if the lower risk may have been lowered due to the extra-virgin olive oil on its own or if it was the effect of the oil working in combination with the rest of the diet.
Next steps would be to conduct larger studies in places where the Mediterranean diet is not commonly taken.