A new report reveals that eating a Mediterranean-style diet heavy in fish, vegetables, and olive oil, could lower a women’s risk of developing breast cancer.
This was found by researchers in a clinical trial known as PREDIMED, a study designed to test the cardiovascular benefits of the Mediterranean diet, the LA Times reports. For the study, participants were put into one of three groups. The first was composed of those who went on a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil. The second group ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts. A third group was placed on a common low-fat diet.
The team followed 7,500 people over the course of five years, eventually ending the study in 2010. During that time, researchers gathered enough evidence to show that the Mediterranean diet led to better heart health. However, while the data was focused on cardiovascular benefits, the team also tracked the incidence of five types of cancer, including breast cancer.
Overall, the study revealed that women who ate the diet with extra virgin olive oil were 62 percent less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those who were asked to just cut down on fat.
The risk of breast cancer also was the highest–2.9 cases for every 1,000 person-years–in women who only lowered the amount of fat in their diet. In contrast, the risk of diagnosis was only 1.8 cases per 1,000 person-years for women who ate the Mediterranean diet with extra nuts, and a mere 1.1 cases per 1,000 person-years for women with the diet that included extra virgin olive oil.
“With an overall healthy diet plus extra virgin olive oil there is a reduction in the hard endpoint of breast cancer,” said senior author Dr. Miguel A. Martinez-Gonzalez of the University of Navarra in Pamplona and CIBEROBN in Madrid, in a report by Reuters.
The results of the study, which were published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. also held up when the researchers accounted for factors such as age, exercise, drinking habits and body mass index.