The Mediterranean Diet, long regarded as one of the healthiest diets on the planet, was the subject of one study from the British Journal of Cancer. Lead author Dr. Cristina Bosetti and her team discovered that, by adhering closely to this diet, the risk of uterine cancer in women is reduced by 57% – more than half.
The key to this diet and its cancer reduction qualities lie in its rich combination of antioxidants, fibers, unsaturated fatty acids, and phytochemicals. This combination has been found to have a huge impact against the most common cancer of the female reproductive system – uterine cancer.
Similar studies on the Mediterranean Diet show that it can also lower the risk of chronic kidney disease and even slow aging. One study reported that, by supplementing the Mediterranean Diet with additional portions of mixed nuts or extra virgin olive oil could protect cognitive functioning in older adults.
For the study conducted by Dr. Bosetti, researchers looked at the diets of more than 5,000 women from differing areas of Italy and Switzerland, gathering data from three case-control studies held between 1983 and 2006. Of those women, 1,411 had been diagnosed with uterine cancer. Their diets were compared and contrasted with 3,668 patients in the hospital with acute diseases.
The diet was broken down into nine different components, and the researchers assessed how strictly each woman adhered to the Mediterranean Diet by measuring the intake of each component.
The components are as follows:
- High intake of vegetables
- High intake of fruits and nuts
- High intake of legumes
- High intake of cereals and potatoes
- High intake of fish
- High intake of monounsaturated fats compared to saturated fatty acids
- Moderate intake of alcohol
- Low intake of meat
- Low intake of dairy products.
Results indicated that women who followed the diet most closely and consumed 7 – 9 of the components on a regular basis reduced their risk of uterine cancer by an overwhelming 57%. Regularly consuming six of the components reduced the risk by 46% and eating five reduced the risk by 35%.
The message that eating healthily can reduce serious health risks such as cancer has been widely supported for many years; however, it is only recently that the specific benefits are coming to light. In contrast, eating unhealthily can have the opposite effect and increase the risk of uterine cancer. While many more studies will need to be done to further aid in legitimacy to the Mediterranean Diet, one thing is abundantly clear – the key to a good, long life starts with a healthy diet.