Several studies have shown that cancer risks could be significantly reduced with healthy diet and lifestyle.
According to a recent study, women on traditional Mediterranean diet have a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer in the postmenopausal years than women on other diet plans.
However, the study, published in the recent edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, do not suggest that diet alone could prevent breast cancer.
Traditional Mediterranean Diet
The traditional Mediterranean diet comprises of fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, yogurt and seafood. It is primarily a vegetarian diet with adequate fish and little red meat. Tomatoes, peppers, mushroom, spinach, eggplants, capers and broccoli are the common vegetables in traditional Mediterranean dishes.
Olive oil and fish oil are the principal sources of fats in the Mediterranean diet. Dairy products are rarely used in traditional Mediterranean cooking. Therefore, this diet hardly contains saturated fats.
Moreover, the traditional Mediterranean dieters eat small portions of nutritious foods. The delicious taste of Mediterranean dishes ensures that a small amount of food is enough to satisfy your appetite. In addition, people on Mediterranean diet consume only fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Mediterranean Diet Lowers Breast Cancer Risk
Historically, compared with women living in the US and other European countries, women in the Mediterranean region have a lower rate of breast cancer. For long, health experts have speculated that the traditional diet of the women living in this region might protect them from this disease.
Among 14,800 Greek women who participated in the current study, 240 women developed postmenopausal breast cancer within the decade long study period. Researchers have noted that breast cancer could have been prevented in about 10 percent women diagnosed with postmenopausal breast cancer if they had managed to follow the traditional Mediterranean diet.
Researchers have observed that women who closely follow the traditional Mediterranean diet have lower levels of estrogen. This female hormone triggers formation of cancer tumors in the breasts after menopause. Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids and the unsaturated fats present in olive oil could prevent growth of cancer cells.
In addition, the large amounts of antioxidants present in fresh fruits and vegetables could further reduce the risk of breast cancer by arresting the harmful activities of free radicals.