Health experts have long advocated for Mediterranean diet because of its health benefits. The Mediterranean diet, for instance, is associated with improved cardiovascular health.
Now, a new study has yet again provided evidence as to why adopting a diet rich in fruits, nuts, vegetables, grains, olive oil and fish could be beneficial particularly to women.
In a new study published in the British Journal of Cancer on May 26, researchers looked at the diet of over 5,000 women and compared their likelihood for developing endometrial cancer, the most prevalent of cancer of the female reproductive organs.
The researchers found that in women who followed the diet most closely by adhering to seven to nine of the different components of the diet, their risks for womb cancer is reduced by 57 percent.
The components include high intake of vegetables, fruits and nuts, legumes, potatoes and cereals, fish, monosaturated fat relative to saturated fat as well as low intake of dairy products and meat and moderate alcohol intake.
The researchers found that the participants who stuck to six of the diet's components reduced their likelihood for endometrial cancer by 46 percent and those who adhered to five components lowered their risk by 34 percent. They also found that the women who stuck to less than five of the diet's components did not exhibit reduction in their risks for endometrial cancer.
Study researcher Dr Cristina Bosetti, from IRCCS-Instituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche said that their findings show the effect of a healthy balanced diet on a woman's odds for womb cancer.
"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," Bosetti said.
The findings of the study highlights the benefits of consuming food high in unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, phytochemicals and antioxidants particularly in reducing odds for endometrial cancer.
"Our study provides evidence for a beneficial role of the Mediterranean diet on endometrial cancer risk, suggesting a favourable effect of a combination of foods rich in antioxidants, fibres, phytochemicals, and unsaturated fatty acids," the researchers wrote.
Julie Sharp, from charity Cancer Research UK said that although being overweight and getting older can elevate a woman's risks of womb cancer, the concept that a Mediterranean diet could reduce the odds warrant further research partly because the research involved people remembering the food that they have eaten before.
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