Chalk up another health benefit tied to the Mediterranean diet. New research shows women who follow the eating plan long favored by Greeks and Italians can cut their risk of womb cancer by more than half.
The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, is based on an analysis of the diets of more than 5,000 Italian women by the IRCCS-Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche of Italy.
The researchers broke the Mediterranean diet down into nine different components and measured how closely women stuck to them. The diet includes eating lots of vegetables, fruits and nuts, cereals and potatoes, fish, monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil) but little meat, milk, and other dairy products, and moderate alcohol intake.
Researchers found that women who adhered to the Mediterranean diet most closely by eating between seven and nine of the beneficial food groups lowered their risk of womb cancer by 57 percent. Those who stuck to even six elements of the diet's components reduced their risk of womb cancer by 46 percent and those who consumed five beneficial food groups reduced their risk by a third.
At the same time, women whose diet included fewer than five of the components did not lower their risk of womb cancer significantly.
"Our research shows the impact a healthy balanced diet could have on a woman's risk of developing womb cancer,” said lead researcher Cristina Bosetti, M.D. “This adds more weight to our understanding of how our every-day choices, like what we eat and how active we are, affect our risk of cancer."
The study was funded by the Italian Foundation for Cancer Research, the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss League Against Cancer.
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