Mediterranean diet

As the name suggests, a Mediterranean diet is the traditional diet of people living in the Mediterranean region (Spain, Italy, Greece, etc.). This diet primarily incorporates simplicity and moderation by essentially focusing on plant-based and unprocessed foods. Here is a quick look at what it entails:

Also, don’t forget to get generous amounts of exercise to complete the diet.

Mediterranean Diet and Cancer

Apart from lowering blood pressure, improving blood glucose control, and lowering bad cholesterol, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with the prevention and reduced risk of mortality in various types of Cancer.

  • Many studies have shown that following this diet is associated with a lower risk of gastric adenocarcinoma (a type of stomach cancer).
  • Although the results are inconsistent, some studies suggest that this diet might be associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
  • In 2017, in a systematic review and meta-analysis, it was found that strong adherence to the Ketogenic diet was associated with lower cancer mortality. Further, it also reduced the risk of various types of cancer.
  • In a 2015 study among the patients with the highest conformity to the Mediterranean diet, the following observations were made:
    • 4% reduction of total cancer incidence
    • 14% reduction in cancer mortality
    • 9% reduction in colorectal cancer incidence
  • In another review of meta-analyses of observational studies and randomized trials, it was found that this diet reduced the risk of overall cancer incidence.

Key Points

  • The Mediterranean diet, traditionally consumed in the areas around the Mediterranean Sea, focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil.
  • LHC’s interest is based on several meta-analyses finding that following the Mediterranean diet reduces incidence of or mortality from cancer.
  • In one analysis, the strongest adherence to a Mediterranean diet was inversely associated with reductions of incidence of colorectal, breast, gastric, liver, head and neck, gallbladder, and biliary tract cancers.
  • No evidence suggests that a Mediterranean Diet, or any other diet with anticancer properties, is effective as a stand-alone treatment for cancer.

References & More Information

  1. Credit: Beyond Conventional Care Therapies
  2. Integrative Oncology Cancer Care
  3. Mayo Clinic. Nutrition and healthy eating: Mediterranean diet: a heart-healthy eating plan. November 3, 2017. Viewed October 1, 2018.
  4. Castelló A, Fernández de Larrea N et al. High adherence to the Western, Prudent, and Mediterranean dietary patterns and risk of gastric adenocarcinoma: MCC-Spain study. Gastric Cancer. 2017 Nov 14.
  5. Buckland G, Agudo A et al. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet and risk of gastric adenocarcinoma within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010 Feb;91(2):381-90.
  6. Donovan MG, Selmin OI, Doetschman TC, Romagnolo DF. Mediterranean diet: prevention of colorectal cancer. Front Nutr. 2017 Dec 5;4:59.
  7. Schwingshackl L, Schwedhelm C, Galbete C, Hoffmann G. Adherence to Mediterranean diet and risk of cancer: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients. 2017 Sep 26;9(10). pii: E1063.
  8. Bloomfield HE, Kane R, Koeller E, Greer N, MacDonald R, Wilt T. (Editors). Benefits and Harms of the Mediterranean Diet Compared to Other Diets. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs (US); November 2015.
  9. Dinu M, Pagliai G, Casini A, Sofi F. Mediterranean diet and multiple health outcomes: an umbrella review of meta-analyses of observational studies and randomised trials. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2018 Jan;72(1):30-43.
  10. Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies
  11. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. About Herbs: Mediterranean Diet
  12. Sofi F, Cesari F, Abbate R, Gensini GF, Casini A. Adherence to Mediterranean diet and health status: meta-analysis. BMJ. 2008;337:a1344.
  13. Zazpe I, Sanchez-Tainta A, Estruch R, et al. A large randomized individual and group intervention conducted by registered dietitians increased adherence to Mediterranean-type diets: the PREDIMED study. J Am Diet Assoc. Jul 2008;108(7):1134-1144; discussion 1145.
  14. Benetou V, Trichopoulou A, Orfanos P, et al. Conformity to traditional Mediterranean diet and cancer incidence: the Greek EPIC cohort. Br J Cancer. Jul 8 2008;99(1):191-195.
  15. Willett WC. The Mediterranean diet: science and practice. Public Health Nutr. Feb 2006;9(1A):105-110.
  16. American Institute for Cancer Research: Mediterranean Diet, Heart Disease and Cancer Risk
  17. WebMD: Mediterranean, DASH Top Best Diets List
  18. Lorenzo Cohen and Alison Jefferies: Anticancer Living: Transform Your Life and Health with the Mix of Six
  19. BCCT: Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies

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