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Mediterranean diet lowers risk of uterine cancer

A new study has found that women who closely follow the Mediterranean diet had a significantly lower risk of developing uterine cancer than women who did not follow the diet.


Lead author Dr. Cristina Bosetti, of the Department of Epidemiology at the IRCCS-Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche in Milan, Italy and her team studied the diets of over 5,000 Italian women from three case-control studies between 1983 and 2006 to determine how closely they adhered to the Mediterranean diet. Based on the traditional foods of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, the diet emphasizes whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and health olive oils.

The researchers broke the diet into the following nine groups: vegetables, fruits, nuts, pulses, cereals and potatoes, fish, monounsaturated fats (but minimal meat), milk, and moderate alcohol intake. They tracked how many of the women ate between seven to nine of the groups. The researchers found that women who did lowered their risk of uterine cancer by 57 percent. Women who ate six of the nine groups reduced their risk by 46 percent, and those who ate five lowered their risk by 34 percent.

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“Our research shows the impact a healthy balanced diet could have on a woman’s risk of developing womb cancer,” Bosetti said. “This adds more weight to our understanding of how our everyday choices, like what we eat and how active we are, affect our risk of cancer.”

According to the CDC, uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in women, and the most commonly diagnosed gynecologic cancer. In 2011, the most recent year statistics are available for, 47,537 women in the United States were diagnosed with uterine cancer.

The study was published in the British Journal of Cancer.

A study presented at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in San Diego in March found that closely following the Mediterranean diet cut the risk of developing heart disease nearly in half.