A cardiovascular health study in Spain reveals surprising link between eating a Mediterranean diet and lowering your risk of breast cancer.
For years experts have advocated for the Mediterranean diet as a healthy alternative for managing heart health. Now a new Spanish study’s results indicate it can be a delicious way to prevent breast cancer.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, a five-year randomized trial called PREDIMED was conducted in Spain ending in 2010. The trial was designed to measure the affect of the Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular health and divided over 4,000 women into three groups: one group that ate a regular low-fat diet, one group that ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil, and one group that ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts.
While the trial did seem to indicate a Mediterranean diet improved heart health, it also seemed to indicate it affected the chances of developing breast cancer. 35 women in the trial were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer but those on the diet with extra virgin olive oil were 62% less likely to do so than the group on the low-fat diet. The women on the diet with mixed nuts were 40% less likely to develop breast cancer than those on the low-fat diet.
Experts warn that the study was small and homogenous, so more research needs to be done. However, olive oil has long been thought to have the potential to fight cancer, containing multiple compounds thought to be effective in various ways, so the study is an encouraging step in the right direction.
The Mediterranean diet is plant-based, meaning it focuses on fruits and vegetables, limits red meat and dairy, and emphasizes fish, water, and whole grains. It is widely thought to be more enjoyable than low-fat diets and now seems to be a win-win for women concerned with breast and cardiovascular health.