The Mediterranean Diet is made up of plenty of fruit, vegetables, legumes, fish, white meat and grains, with key foods like olive oil.
Diets under the microscope
A study conducted by EpiGEICAM, an area of research on lifestyle and breast cancer risk in Spain, has shown that the Mediterranean diet has a significant protective effect against the risk of developing breast cancer.
The research project analyzed the relationship between diet and the development of breast cancer based on a total of 1,017 cases and 1,017 controls recruited by GEICAM investigators in Spanish hospitals. The effects of 3 types of diets were compared:
- Western diet: high consumption of fatty products, processed meat, sweets, high-calorie beverages and low consumption of grains.
- Prudent diet: low-fat products, fruit, vegetables and juices.
- Mediterranean diet: fish, vegetables, legumes, potatoes, fruit, extra virgin olive oil and low consumption of bottled juices and high-calorie beverages.
From the conclusions of the research published in the British Journal of Cancer (BJC), it was found that adherence to the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by up to 30%. In contrast, the Western diet is the most harmful for developing breast cancer, but more concerningly, it is the most common diet among young women. On the other hand, it has not been shown that a prudent diet is related to a greater or lesser chance of developing breast cancer, despite what could be initially thought, because it is the lowest in fat.
The results show the benefits of a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, legumes, oily fish and plant-based oils in preventing all types of breast cancer, particularly triple-negative tumors.
Source: A. Castelló, M. Pollán, et al. Spanish Mediterranean diet and other dietary patterns and breast cancer risk: case–control EpiGEICAM study. British Journal of Cancer (2014), 1–9. DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2014.434