The Mediterranean anticancer diet
“I know it’s unusual, there aren’t many cases like mine and I don’t want you to think that if you do everything I did you’ll be cured. But I do believe that if you eat well, do exercise and keep your mind at rest, you’ll be able to live with the disease better and you’ll find the treatments far more effective than if you simply sit there waiting for something to happen.” This is how Dr Odile Fernández introduces her book Mis recetas anticáncer [My Anticancer Recipes], the first of three publications on this subject. She is convinced that a good diet and other healthy habits have been key to her process of beating cancer.
She ate a Mediterranean diet of vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, pulses, wholegrain cereals, extra-virgin olive oil, herbs and spices, as well as cutting down on animal fat, red meat, dairy products and sausages and avoiding refined oils such as palm oil and sunflower oil. Five key allies? Broccoli, apples, green tea, turmeric and extra-virgin olive oil.
The anticancer benefits of extra-virgin olive oil were also revealed in the PREDIMED study (Prevention with a Mediterranean Diet), carried out with over 7,400 people. Its initial goal was to explore the impact of three diets (one rich in extra-virgin olive oil, one rich in nuts, and one low in fat) on cardiovascular problems. However, it also made some interesting parallel findings, including the discovery that women on the first diet had their risk of breast cancer (the commonest form of cancer in women) cut by 66%.
Other studies by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, Harvard Medical School and the DCCPS at the National Cancer Institute also show the benefits that eating nuts can have on fighting breast cancer and other cancers, including bowl cancer, pancreatic cancer and lung cancer.
The benefits of a Mediterranean diet and the essential foods that made it up are now clear for all to see, as we mentioned in previous posts, including Five great benefits of super-healthy olive oil, The Mediterranean diet: great for combatting arteriosclerosis and A walnut-rich diet helps reduce obesity and cholesterol.