The Miguel Hernández University participates in a study that associates the Mediterranean diet with a 30% reduction in the risk of breast cancer

The Nutritional Epidemiology Unit at the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH), led by Professor Jesús Vioque, has participated in a study that associates the Mediterranean diet with a 30% reduction in the risk of breast cancer. The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, was led by researchers Adela Castelló and Marina Pollán from the National Centre for Epidemiology at the Institute of Health Carlos III.

healthy organic vegetables on a wood backgroundThis project involved 23 Spanish hospitals and it assessed the diet of 1,017 healthy women and 1,017 women diagnosed with breast cancer through dietary questionnaires developed by the researchers at the unit of the Miguel Hernández University. Every year in Spain, more than 26,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer.

After analyzing the diet of the participants, the researchers identified three types of dietary patterns: the Western diet, characterized by high consumption of fatty foods, processed meat, sweets, caloric beverages, and low consumption of cereals; the Prudent diet, which consists of low fat foods, fruits, vegetables, and juices; and the Mediterranean diet, consisting of a high intake of fish, vegetables, fruits, legumes, potatoes, oil, and a low intake of canned juices and caloric beverages.

The results show that the pattern of the Western diet is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer, especially in premenopausal women. Instead, the Mediterranean diet offers a protective effect, associated with a 30% reduction of these tumors. Such protection is more important for triple negative tumors, which are the most aggressive. This is the first study to demonstrate an association between the Mediterranean diet and its protection against triple negative breast tumors.

Another result obtained in this study is that the Prudent diet, characterized by its low fat content, was not linked to a reduced risk of cancer. This finding indicates that avoiding fats is not a determinant in the risk, and it must be noted that not all fats are bad. The worst, trans fats, are found mainly in bakery products and have an adverse effect on other diseases.