Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Olive oil and Mediterranean diet may reduce breast cancer risk

CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 14, 2015 – Eating a Mediterranean diet with added extra virgin olive oil was associated with a 68 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who did not follow the diet in a study of women in Spain, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

The Mediterranean diet comes from foods characterized by the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It emphasizes eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains,
legumes and nuts, using healthy fats, such as olive oil, eating fish and poultry at least twice a week, limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month, using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods, and drinking red wine in moderation.

Miguel A. Martínez-González, M.D., of the University of Navarra in Madrid, Spain, and coauthors analyzed the effects of two interventions with the Mediterranean diet (supplemented with extra virgin olive oil [EVOO] or nuts) compared with advice to women to follow a low-fat diet. 

The Large PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) Study recruited 4,282 women (ages 60 to 80 and at high risk of cardiovascular disease) between 2003 to 2009. Participants in the two intervention groups were given EVOO (one liter per week for the participants and their families) or mixed nuts (30 grams per day: 15 grams of walnuts, 7.5 grams of hazelnuts and 7.5 grams of almonds).

Women were randomly assigned to the Mediterranean diet supplemented with EVOO (n=1,476), the Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts (n=1,285) or the control diet with advice to reduce dietary intake of fat (n=1,391). The women were an average of 67.7 years old, and had an average body mass index of 30.4.

The data showed that women eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with EVOO showed a 68 percent lower risk of malignant breast cancer relative to the group advised to reduce dietary fat. Women eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts showed a lower risk of breast cancer compared with women in the control group but the difference was not statistically significant.

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