Published in the British Journal of Cancer, the study analyzed three case-control studies conducted in Italy and Switzerland between 1983 and 2006, examining the cases of 1,411 women with confirmed cases of cancer of the uterus and a control group of 3,668 patients.
Case-control studies such as this one compare the “cases” of those who are afflicted with a disease with patients or “controls” who do not have the disease but are comparable, so that factors contributing to the disease may be identified.
The researchers used a Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) made up of the nine dietary components which are characteristic of the diet, i.e. a high consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts, cereals, monounsaturated fats like olive oil (rather than saturated fats like butter and lard), a moderate intake of fish, a low consumption of meat and poultry, dairy products, and a moderate alcohol intake.
The researchers found that the women who regularly consumed at least six of the diet’s components reduced their risk of uterine cancer by 46 percent, while those who ate only five reduced their risk by 34 percent. Those who consumed fewer than five did not lower their risk significantly.
The study concludes that the results provide evidence that the Mediterranean diet can protect from cancer of the uterus because it is high in fibre, antioxidants, phytochemicals and unsaturated fatty acids.
Dr. Cristina Bosetti, the lead author of the study stated: “Our research shows the impact a healthy balanced diet could have on a woman’s risk of developing womb cancer. This adds more weight to our understanding of how our everyday choices, like what we eat and how active we are, affect our risk of cancer.”
The study was funded by the Italian Foundation for Cancer Research, the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss League Against Cancer.
The Mediterranean Diet has also been proven to protect from other types of cancer and chronic diseases like heart disease, protect against obesity in children, promote longevity and improve cognitive function.
Photo: Trinette Reed