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Mediterranean diet cuts risk of death in cancer survivors by a third

Cancer survivors could see a dramatic boost in life expectancy by embracing the Mediterranean diet, a groundbreaking study has revealed. Over a span of 13 years, those who indulged in a diet rich in vegetables, fish, olive oil, and nuts had a staggering 32% reduction in mortality risk compared to their counterparts who didn’t follow the diet.

Speaking to JACC: CardioOncology, Marialaura Bonaccio from Italy’s IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo in Pozzilli highlighted the significance of the findings: “Our findings suggest maintaining or adopting a traditional [Mediterranean diet] even after a cancer diagnosis may be beneficial and, importantly, motivate additional science regarding the development of dietary recommendations specifically targeted for cancer survivors.”

Not only does this diet slash the risk of death from all causes, but it is particularly effective against heart disease.

Bonaccio further explained that the Mediterranean diet is “is abundant in foods that are natural sources of polyphenols, which are bioactive compounds with well-established anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antitumor activities that may be relevant not only to cancer onset and progression but also and possibly even more to cardiovascular mortality prevention.”

The research, which drew on data from over 800 patients averaging 63 years old, assessed their diets nine years post-diagnosis. It was observed that adherents to the Mediterranean diet were generally wealthier and more physically active, reports Gloucestershire Live.

Out of the 800 participants in the study, 248 passed away during the 13-year follow-up period. Cancer claimed 140 lives and cardiovascular disease took 59.

The adherence to the Mediterranean diet was measured on a nine-point scale, with each two-point increase correlating to a 16% lower risk of death over the 13 years.

Flora Clarke from ZOE Nutrition stated: “When researchers examined the diets of over 17,000 people with cardiovascular disease, they discovered that those who adhered more closely to a Mediterranean diet were less likely to have died from any cause during the subsequent 58 years.”

“One reason why the Mediterranean diet may be linked with lower risks of some chronic diseases is due to its inclusion of healthy fats. Unsaturated fats can help maintain your cholesterol levels, which is crucial for heart health. Several thousand individuals at high risk of heart disease participated in a study in Spain.”

“It revealed that those who consumed Mediterranean diets supplemented with either nuts or extra-virgin olive oil – both sources of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – were less likely to suffer a heart attack in later years compared to those who followed a low-fat diet.”

“The Mediterranean diet has also been associated with a decreased risk of cancer. Scientists believe this could be attributed to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of many of the foods it includes, such as fruits and vegetables.”

“Another study, involving participants aged 5580 and taking place over several years, showed that people who ate a Mediterranean diet were more than 50% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who did not follow the diet. “.

The popular Mediterranean diet – typically favoured in areas such as Greece, Italy, and Spain – prioritises whole foods with minimal processing and boasts numerous health benefits such as decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Here’s a breakdown of this wholesome dietary regime:.


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