Health experts have long touted the benefits of a Mediterranean diet to promote cognitive function, prevent cardiovascular disease, and help maintain strong bones. Now, new evidence suggests that following this simple diet plan can even benefit your respiratory system. In fact, eating foods consumed by those healthy Greeks and Italians who live along the Mediterranean Sea may even slash your risk for lung cancer.
A new study published this month in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition found that people who adhered closely to the Mediterranean diet lowered their risk for lung cancer, says Eat This, Not That! The study indicated that the more participants followed the diet, the greater their risk reduction. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer (not counting skin cancer), in both men and women.
“While more studies, especially those that include participants from many different parts of the world, would be helpful to better understand these findings, this study is encouraging,” says Vandana Sheth, a registered dietitian nutritionist. “Food can have a powerful positive impact in health promotion and disease prevention. Enjoying a Mediterranean diet plan can be part of your arsenal to combat and reduce your risk for some types of cancer.”
It is important to note that the study didn’t establish whether following the Mediterranean diet prevented lung cancer, but rather indicated that people who adhere to this health eating plan were less likely to get the disease. The researchers concluded that following the Mediterranean diet could be a protective factor, however, says Eat This, Not That!
“The foods typically consumed on the Mediterranean diet are nutrient-rich including olive oil, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds and fish and seafood,” explains Julie Andrews, a chef and registered dietitian and founder of The Healthy Epicurean. “These foods contain nutrients that are healthful for the entire body, such as omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is not surprising to see the data shows the Mediterranean diet may also help keep the lungs healthy as well as the heart and brain.”
For more health benefits of this powerful food plan including reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and weight loss, click here.
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