Mediterranean cuisine may help a lot of women around the world by reducing their risk of getting breast cancer, say experts.
In a new study conducted in Spain, researchers found that women who followed a Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil were 68 percent less exposed to developing breast cancer.
Researchers came up with three different diets which they later presented to a number of approximately 4,000 women (post-menopausal) who had never suffered from breast cancer. For the first diets the women were asked to consume more fatty foods as per usual: the first Mediterranean diet was based on high amounts of extra-virgin olive oil and the second Mediterranean diet was nut based. Women following the third diet were asked to reduce their amount of daily fat intake. 35 of the women involved in the study developed breast cancer five years after the experiment had started.
According to a study published in JAMA International Medicine, the women who were on the extra-virgin olive oil diet were the least exposed to the risk of developing breast cancer. The women who were on the second diet also had lower risks of getting breast cancer, but scientists say that in this case the results were not significant enough.
Martinez-Gonzales, professor at the University of Navarra, Spain, suggested that many Mediterranean foods had certain properties that prevented tumour development. Extra-virgin olive oil has been proved to have anti-cancer effects due to its richness in polyphenols, vitamins and other natural anioxidants.
“For every additional 5 percent of calories from extra-virgin olive oil, the risk was reduced by 28 percent,” explained Professor Gonzales.
Researchers were not entirely sure whether the extra-virgin olive oil acted as a shield against cancer of its own, or if it was the combination of both Mediterranean food and olive oil that did the trick. It is true that the Mediterranean diet is know for its ability to reduce the risk of getting cancer and heart disease, since it is rich in fish, dairy products, plants and olive oil.
This new study is a lot more accurate than other previous studies where women were asked to report whatever their daily diets consisted of, said Dr. Mitchell Katz, editor of JAMA.
Dr. Katz and professor Gonzales both encourage women to follow the Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil and to try and avoid as much as possible the consumption of processed meat, fast food and soda.
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