Spanish study suggests Mediterranean diet reduces breast cancer risk

Eating a Mediterranean diet, rich with plant foods, fish and olive oil, has been found to be good for the heart, the brain and overall health. Now, a new study out of Spain suggests the diet supplemented with olive oil may also reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Researchers randomly assigned more than 4,200 women, ages 60 to 80, to eat either a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or with nuts, or a low-fat control diet.

“We found a strong effect of a long-term dietary intervention with the Mediterranean diet and extra virgin olive oil on breast cancer incidence,” said Dr. Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez, a researcher at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain.

Compared to the control diet group, the Mediterranean plus olive oil group had a 68 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer over a follow-up of about five years…

The study was done within the framework of a large study called PREDIMED, designed to look at the effect of the diet on heart disease prevention. It was published online Sept. 14 in JAMA Internal Medicine…

The authors did note there were limitations in the study, including that breast cancer was not the primary end point and that it was unclear whether the olive oil was beneficial on its own or taken within the Mediterranean diet.

The research also suggests that it’s never too late to change eating habits for health, Dr. Martinez-Gonzalez added.

I’ll say yes to all of the above.

I used to joke that of the two sides of my family, I was fortunate it was the Italians – not the Scots – who taught me to cook, how to eat, what to eat. Generally, that was a jest about flavorful cuisine – even though I also love haggis.

In later years, the Mediterranean diet really dominated all my food intake and I’m the better for it IMHO.

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