Breast cancer is a serious health concern that affects many women around the world.
While there are different risk factors for developing breast cancer, research suggests that diet may play a role in its development.
One dietary pattern that has gained attention for its potential health benefits is the Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet).
The MedDiet is a plant-based dietary pattern that includes high consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and healthy fats such as olive oil, and moderate consumption of fish, poultry, and dairy products.
It is low in red meat and processed foods.
In this study, researchers aimed to review the available evidence on the association between adherence to MedDiet and the risk of breast cancer.
They searched several databases for relevant systematic reviews and meta-analyses that evaluated the role of MedDiet on the incidence of breast cancer.
The results of the review suggest that adherence to a MedDiet pattern had a protective effect on the risk of breast cancer, particularly for postmenopausal breast cancer.
However, the studies included in the review showed moderate-high heterogeneity, which means that the results were not consistent across all studies.
It is important to note that the studies reviewed were observational in nature, which means that they cannot prove causality.
Other factors, such as physical activity, genetics, and environmental exposures, may also contribute to the development of breast cancer.
Despite these limitations, the results suggest that MedDiet may have a potential protective effect against breast cancer, especially among postmenopausal women.
Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to better understand the mechanisms behind the observed association.
In the meantime, incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats into your diet, and limiting red meat and processed foods, may have potential health benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as breast cancer.
How to prevent breast cancer
While there is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk:
Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of breast cancer, especially after menopause. Try to maintain a healthy weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Limit alcohol intake: Consuming more than one alcoholic drink per day can increase your risk of breast cancer. If you do drink, try to limit your intake to one drink per day or less.
Stay physically active: Regular physical activity can help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week.
Breastfeed: Women who breastfeed their babies for at least a year may have a slightly lower risk of breast cancer.
Don’t smoke: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, especially in premenopausal women.
Get screened: Early detection is key in treating breast cancer. Women over 40 should get regular mammograms to help detect any changes in the breast tissue.
Know your family history: Women with a family history of breast cancer may be at an increased risk. Talk to your doctor about your family history and whether you may need to start screening earlier or more frequently.
The research was published in Clinical Nutrition and was conducted by Carla González-Palacios Torres et al.
Copyright © 2023 Scientific Diet. All rights reserved.