Healthy Eating Reduces Stomach Cancer Risk

December 3, 2018 8:56 am57 commentsViews: 73

A Mediterranean diet—rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, whole grains and olive oil—has been linked to a reduced risk of stomach cancer, according to a study of nearly 500,000 adults from 10 European countries. Those who followed the diet were 33 percent less likely to develop stomach cancer than those whose eating patterns were furthest from the diet’s regimen.

What is a Mediterranean Diet?

The nutritional recommendations of a Mediterranean diet are inspired by traditional dietary patterns of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Although there are no universally agreed guidelines, the principal aspect of this diet is high intake of monounsaturated fats (mainly from olive oil). More than half the fat calories in a Mediterranean diet come from monounsaturated fats, which do not raise blood pressure like other fats.

Additional characteristics of a Mediterranean diet include eating generous amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds; consuming fish and seafood at least twice a week; eating moderate portions of dairy products (mainly cheese and yogurt); consuming low amounts of red meat and sweets; and moderate intake of alcohol in the form of wine. The Mayo Clinic provides further information about a Mediterranean diet.

Is a Mediterranean Diet Expensive?

The cost of food is a major factor that influences people’s choices in what they eat. A 2009 study found that following a Mediterranean diet may be too expensive for the average consumer. Fresh fruits and vegetables are more expensive than processed, canned food. However, another study found that starting a Mediterranean diet may not be as expensive if people replace expensive, less healthy foods such as red meat, desserts and fast food with equally costly, but healthier vegetables, fish and whole grains.

Additional Health Benefits

Following a Mediterranean diet has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. According to a 2008 meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal, patients who closely followed a Mediterranean diet had significant improvements in their overall health, including a 9% reduction in death by any cause, a 9% reduction in heart disease death, 6% reduction in cancer death and 13% reduction in risk of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Another study showed that people who followed a Mediterranean diet were up to 50% less likely to develop depression.

The foods in a Mediterranean regimen provide a diet rich in antioxidants which may be involved in the prevention of cancer initiation and progression. Additional beneficial health effects of the diet may come from its high content of cereal fiber, which has previously been associated with reduced stomach cancer risk. The low intake of red meat may also contribute to the reduced risk.

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