(NaturalNews) A recent French study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology has revealed that a "Mediterranean" diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fish, and olive and sunflower oils will reduce the risk of post-menopausal women developing cancer. Findings implicated the "Western" diet as contributing heavily to incidences of breast cancer.
Research for the study began in 1990 when 65,374 women living in France agreed to complete self-administered diet questionnaires that tracked the participants' eating habits from among 208 pre-selected foods and beverages. The women, born between 1925 and 1950, were assessed based on a number of physical, demographic, and genealogical factors that were compiled and analyzed in conjunction with the questionnaire data at the conclusion of the study.
After 9.7 years during a median follow-up interval, it was discovered that 2,381 women had developed post-menopausal invasive breast cancer. Based on data analysis, researchers indicated that the Mediterranean diet was a key factor in reducing the risk of breast cancer when accompanied by adequate energy intake and avoidance of excess junk food consumption.
The Mediterranean diet is replete with foods that are rich in vital nutrients. Olive oil, for instance, contains high levels of oleic acid, an anti-cancer fatty acid that blocks oncogene HER-2/neu, a cancer-causing agent. Other anti-cancer nutrients include high levels of selenium, glutathione, fiber, polyphenols, vitamins E and C, and a highly favorable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
On the other hand, the Western diet consists of many highly-refined, nutrient-depleted processed foods. Grain-fed meats high in harmful fats, excess refined flours and starchy foods, processed sugars, and gluttonous alcohol intake are some of the typical staples in the unhealthy, cancer-inducing Western diet.
Prior to the study, few scientific inquiries had been made into the correlation between breast cancer risk and diet. Though the link should be obvious to everyone, the study illustrates the obvious fact that diet plays a crucial role in keeping the body healthy and free of disease.
Japan offers a perfect illustration of the detrimental effects of an unhealthy diet on a population. Formerly a very healthy nation, Japan's traditional diet was rich in nutritious, unprocessed foods, many of which were derived from the sea. As Japan has slowly adopted a more Western diet over the years, its rates of cancer have begun to increase, exemplifying the link between dietary habits and health.
It is imperative for every health-oriented individual that a wide variety of whole, natural foods be consumed as opposed to processed foods high in unnatural sugars and refined flours. Fortifying the body with nutrients, minerals, and vitamins from natural, balanced sources is vital to maintaining optimal health.