New evidence suggests that the Mediterranean diet may be associated with a lower risk of gastric cancer.
The Mediterranean diet is rich in heart-healthy fiber, fish, fruits, vegetables and unsaturated "good" fats (particularly olive oil); low in meats, dairy products and saturated fats and includes moderate amounts of alcohol.
A number of cancers, such as cancer of the large bowel and breast, are less frequent in Mediterranean countries than in northern Europe. It has been hypothesized that a low dietary intake of saturated fat accompanied by a higher intake of unrefined carbohydrates and possibly other protective nutrients could be the cause of such risk differences.
The latest cohort study included 485,044 adults from 10 European countries. The participants completed questionnaires about diet and lifestyle.
After an average follow-up period of 8.9 years, 449 people were diagnosed with gastric cancer. They found that Mediterranean diet was associated with a five percent reduced risk of developing gastric cancer compared to people who did not follow the diet. Although the results were statistically significant, the study does not prove that the Mediterranean diet actually prevents gastric cancer. Instead, it shows a potential association between the two conditions. Additional research is needed in the area.
For more information about the Mediterranean diet, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness database.