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Mediterranean Diet Strongly Linked to Reducing Risks of Breast Cancer [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 08, 2017 08:36 PM EST

Research shows that following a Mediterranean diet can lessen the risk of developing breast cancer such as the Estrogen-receptor negative (ER-negative), which is considered one of the worst cancer types.

The study published in the International Journal of Cancer looked into the lives of over 62,000 women in the Netherlands for the past 20 years. According to The Guardian, these women are participants of the Netherlands Cohort Study which looked at the link between diet and cancer. The study started in 1986.

CNN reported 3,354 of the participants developed breast cancer but the researchers only used data from 2,321 cases. Participants with a history of cancer and those with inconsistent or incomplete dietary data were excluded from the analysis sample.

Prof. Piet van den Brandt, head of the research team from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, said they wanted to determine how diet affects cancer risk. Researchers found that adhering to Mediterranean diet lowered the risk of developing ER-negative cancer by 40 percent.

The Mediterranean diet is mostly plant-based and includes vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes, whole grains, olive oil and some fish. Traditional Mediterranean diet also allowed consumption of wine in small amounts but that is not included in this study.

Past studies have also found that Mediterranean diet helps lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and other types of cancer. It is also associated with having stronger bones and longer lives.

The researchers concluded that following a defined version of the Mediterranean diet can lower, if not prevent 32.4% of ER-negative breast cancer cases and 2.3% of all other breast cancer types.

ER-negative breast cancer is common among postmenopausal women and is considered one of the worst types because it is more aggressive and there are fewer treatment options.

Dr. Sandhya Pruthi from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine said that diet plays a significant role in preventing breast cancer since it is one of the easiest lifestyle changes women can make. The doctor said the key components of the Mediterranean diet have a positive impact in lowering breast cancer incidence.

Emma Pennery, clinical director at Breast Cancer Care, said that while eating a well-balanced diet and having regular exercise may lower the risk of getting breast cancer, they do not guarantee prevention. It's also important that women knows the signs and symptoms and consult their doctors if they find anything unusual.

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