Eating a Mediterranean diet, rich with plant foods, fish and olive oil, has been found to be good for the heart, the brain and overall health. Now, a new study out of Spain suggests the diet supplemented with olive oil may also reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Researchers randomly assigned more than 4,200 women, ages 60 to 80, to eat either a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or with nuts, or a low-fat control diet.
“We found a strong effect of a long-term dietary intervention with the Mediterranean diet and extra virgin olive oil on breast cancer incidence,” said Dr. Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez, a researcher at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain.
Compared to the control diet group, the Mediterranean plus olive oil group had a 68 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer over a follow-up of about five years.
The Mediterranean diet with nuts also reduced risk, but the results were not considered statistically significant.
During the follow-up, 35 new breast cancer cases were diagnosed.
The women, who joined the study in 2003 to 2009, were