Yet Another Reason to Follow This Popular Diet
According to a study published in the October 2009 issue of The American Journal of Epidemiology, the highly touted Mediterranean diet may significantly lower the risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women.
The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains and healthy oils, such as those found in fish, olives, and nuts. This diet is typical of people who live in the European countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and has been associated with lower levels of cardiovascular disease, obesity and certain types of cancer.
The study began in 1990 and included over 65,000 French women born between 1925 and 1950.
The French researchers determined the dietary patterns of the participants using a biennial questionnaire that assessed consumption of over 200 different foods and beverages.
Over the course of nearly ten years of follow-up, 2,381 cases of postmenopausal invasive breast cancer were diagnosed.
he researchers took into account known risk factors for breast cancer such as age, educational level, geographic area, body mass index, height, family history of breast cancer, pregnancy and breastfeeding history and current use of vitamin/mineral supplements.
Even after all of those factors were accounted for, the researchers found that women who consumed a Mediterranean diet had a reduced risk of developing breast cancer.
They also found that a western diet consisting of foods such as meat products, French fries, appetizers, rice/pasta, potatoes, pizza/pies, canned fish, eggs, alcoholic beverages, cakes, mayonnaise and butter/cream increased the risk of breast cancer.
These findings show once again that the Mediterranean diet may be a very healthy option. Keep in mind though that the benefits of such a diet quickly diminish the more you sneak the foods mentioned above into your diet.
The researchers were unable to determine the specific parts of the Mediterranean diet responsible for these positive results, however, many scientists have attributed the positive health benefits of the Mediterranean diet to the abundance of nutrients found in the diet like omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fats, fiber, potassium, calcium and magnesium.