The same study that showed how a Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease also reveals it can minimize the possibility of breast cancer among women.
A group of researchers looked into the data of PREDIMED, a huge randomized trial that ended in 2010. It was participated by more than 7,000 people who were randomly assigned a diet that's either Mediterranean or low fat. After tracking their progress for almost 5 years, the PREDIMED team discovered that whether the Mediterranean diet was supplemented by olive oil or mixed nuts, those who consumed them had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than the ones who ate a low-fat diet.
The PREDIMED study also had more than 4,000 women as participants, and they became the primary focus of this new research, which is now published in JAMA Internal Medicine. They also tracked the breast cancer incidence among them within the same period and found that at least 30 women had been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. However, most of the reported cases were in the control group.
Further, those who had a Mediterranean diet heavy with olive oil had almost 62% less risk of breast cancer. When other factors such as exercise were considered, the percentage went up to 68%. Eating mixed nuts with the diet could also offer protection at 40% less risk.
The researchers tried to modify the sample by excluding those who had already been diagnosed with the disease on the study's first year and including those whose cases were not verified by a biopsy. According to their analysis, the results were almost the same.
Some experts, however, are skeptical with the results. As reported by USA Today, Susan Love, who works as a breast surgeon, cited the lack of evidence whether these women went through mammograms, a standard diagnostic exam that could detect breast cancer. The research also failed to mention if the women had a family history of breast cancer as certain defective genes can significantly increase the risk.