Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women with over 240,000 women in the U.S. diagnosed of the disease in 2012 but there is good news for those on Mediterranean diet.
Findings of a new research revealed that Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil can reduce a person's risks for breast cancer by up to 68 percent.
Mediterranean diet emphasizes on the consumption of legumes, nuts, fish, fruits, vegetables and olive oil. It is being hailed as a wonder diet with studies linking it with reduced odds for a range of unwanted health conditions.
Studies have shown that the diet can help ward off heart disease, memory loss, uterine cancer and stroke. A research published earlier this year also showed that the diet is good for the brain.
Researchers said that supplementing a Mediterranean diet with four tablespoons of extra -virgin olive oil daily can also reduce the risks of developing breast cancer.
For the new study published in the journal JAMA on Monday, Sept. 14, study researcher Miguel Martinez Gonzalez, from the University of Navarra in Spain, and colleagues randomly assigned more than 4,000 women who were between 60 and 80 years old to one of three groups.
Some were assigned to adopt Mediterranean diet with additional olive oil, some to a Mediterranean diet with nut supplement and the others to a low-fat diet.
Thirty-five of the participants were eventually diagnosed with malignant breast cancer. The researchers found that women who had Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil had 68 percent lower risks of developing malignant breast cancer compared with those on the low fat diet.
The women on Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, on the other hand, had non-significant risk reduction compared with women on low-fat diet.
"Some observational studies have suggested that the Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of breast cancer," the researchers wrote in their study. "Our results suggest a beneficial effect of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil in the primary prevention of breast cancer."
The researchers acknowledged limitations in their study. For one, breast cancer was not the only disease that the participants suffered from. They also said that the study did not establish whether or not the beneficial effects could be attributed primarily to olive oil. The researchers said that longer term and bigger studies are needed to confirm their findings.
Photo: U.S Department of Agriculture | Flickr