Sunday, March 18, 2018 by Jessica Dolores
Everyone may have heard, at some point, a friendly suggestion to “eat your vegetables.” It turns out, that is actually sound advice, when it is part of the Mediterranean Diet (MD), according to research. In a study that appears in Current Nutrition Reports, authors used available information from various studies to provide an overview of the link between MD and cancer formation.
The study offered a glimpse of two operational definitions of MD. The first one, the Mediterranean Dietary Score, assigns a value for each component of MD. Beneficial components are factored in the score, which includes the increased intake of vegetables, fruits and nuts, legumes, unprocessed cereals, fish, and a high ratio of monounsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids. In addition, the dietary score also identifies components that are harmful, such as meat and meat products – including poultry – and certain dairy products.
The second one is a derivative of the dietary score, with some modification on food items and scoring. Some important differences include the following:
The authors also looked at randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and prospective cohorts studies on the effects of MD. The first RCT that showed the relationship between MD and ischemic heart disease was the Lyon Diet Heart study, which revealed that MD has a protective effect against cancer development. The cohort studies, meanwhile, indicated that MD could lessen the risk of overall cancer mortality by 13 percent.
The effects of MD on certain types of cancer were also reviewed in this study. The authors found the diet can reduce the likelihood of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. In other forms of cancer, researchers noted that the diet reduced it by the following percentages: 17 percent for colorectal cancer, 4 percent for prostate cancer, 27 for gastric cancer, 42 percent for liver cancer, 44 percent for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, and 40 percent for head and neck cancer.
“The Mediterranean Diet’s ability to help prevent cancer stems from the natural anti-cancer phytonutrients found in the food components of the diet,” explained Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, author of Food Forensics. “Stunningly, there are a few doctors and health practitioners still living today who believe there’s no such thing as an anti-cancer nutrient in natural foods. This is the scientific equivalent of believing in the Flat Earth theory, or the cultural equivalent of believing that women shouldn’t vote or that whites and blacks should drink from different water fountains,” Adams explained. “Every informed nutritionist, doctor and scientist knows that many natural foods contain potent anti-cancer compounds. Anyone who denies that is either scientifically illiterate or self-deluded,” Adams added.
In addition, the components of the MD were also individually reviewed to understand their health benefits.
Researchers concluded that the Mediterranean diet, characterized by food rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, cereals, and fish, lowers the incidence and the development of cancer; thus, reducing the number of deaths associated with the illness.
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