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New Study Finds Mediterranean Diet May Lower Breast Cancer Risk

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A recent case-controlled study conducted in Iran and published on Frontiers in Nutrition found a significant inverse association between the Mediterranean diet and breast cancer. In this research, individuals with the highest tertile of the Mediterranean diet score compared with those in the lowest tertile were 57% less likely to have breast cancer1. This relationship was most significant among postmenopausal women.

Previous studies on the association between diet and breast cancer are mostly from Western populations where data from Middle East countries was not often included, hence why this study specifically set out to gather data on Iranian women, as the prevalence of breast cancer in Middle East countries is high2, yet the analytic data available is quite low. 

The classic Mediterranean diet focuses on eating real, whole foods and is modeled after countries lining the Mediterranean Sea. It centers fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, olive oil, herbs, and spices and limits processed foods, red meat, and added sugars.

For this study, researchers enrolled 350 women with new cases of breast cancer (including stages I-IV) and 700 women to represent a control group with equal socioeconomic and age status.

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