Scientists from Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Italy found that eating the Mediterranean diet may help prevent colon cancer and other gut diseases.
The Mediterranean diet is a diet inspired by the eating habits of people who live near the Mediterranean Sea.
When initially formulated in the 1960s, it drew on the cuisines of Greece, Turkey, Italy, and Spain.
The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan that emphasizes healthy fats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Recent research has found that the foods in a typical Mediterranean diet—fish, nuts, plant oils, fruits, and vegetables—help lower inflammation in your body, improve blood vessel function and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
All of these benefits serve to keep your ticker ticking and your mind sharp.
The human body’s largest population of microorganisms resides in the intestine and is collectively called the gut microbiota.
Previous studies have found that the imbalance of gut microbiota is a common feature in colon cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
Eating the Mediterranean diet has been said as a method to prevent multiple diseases, because the diet could help keep the gut microbiota healthy.
In the current study, researchers aimed to find out whether the Mediterranean diet can be used as a method to prevent cancer and inflammation-related diseases of the gut.
They reviewed findings from published studies in which people followed the Mediterranean diet or other diets. They also examined the risks of colon cancer, IBD, or other gut-related diseases in the participants.
The researchers found that the gut microbiota linked to the Mediterranean diet was enriched in bacteria that promote an anti-inflammatory environment in the gut and low in pro-inflammatory properties.
In patients with intestinal diseases, including cancer, however, the gut environment has pro-inflammatory properties. These properties can make diseases worse.
The team found that some of these differences were maintained even when the Mediterranean diet was compared to healthy people without a defined diet.
These findings highlight the unique effects of the Mediterranean diet on the gut microbiota.
The researchers suggest that integrating the Mediterranean diet into a person’s lifestyle may help prevent colon cancer and other gut-related diseases.
One limitation of the study is that the research findings reviewed had a different number of subjects in each diet group, as well as their gender or age.
In addition, valuable information on the bacterial composition was available but do not allow the researchers to evaluate their metabolic activity. Future work may help address the issues.
The research is published in Nutrients and was conducted by Oscar Illescas et al.
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