Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Stomach Cancer

CURE, Spring 2010, Volume 9, Issue 1

A study published last December showed foods found in traditional diets in Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries, lowered the risk of gastric cancer by 33 percent.

If you eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, and cereal, you’re doing your body a lot of good. A study published last December in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those types of food, which are traditional diets in Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries, lowered the risk of gastric (stomach) cancer by 33 percent.

Researchers analyzed data from almost 500,000 men and women between 35 and 70 years old from 10 European countries. Each person was given a score on an 18-point scale based on how closely they followed the Mediterranean diet, which also limits red meat and dairy consumption, allows small amounts of wine, and uses olive oil as the main fat.

After an average follow-up of nine years, 449 participants developed gastric cancer. The study also showed that gastric cancer risk fell 5 percent for every one-point increase in a person’s Mediterranean diet score.

According to the American Cancer Society, gastric cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with 21,700 Americans diagnosed each year. With only 23 percent of patients surviving for five years or more, it’s important to identify effective dietary recommendations to reduce the incidence of gastric cancer, the researchers concluded.

The Mediterranean diet has also been linked to reducing the risk of other cancers, as well as depression, inflammation, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and obesity.