A Mediterranean diet can halve the risk of mouth cancer

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A Mediterranean diet can halve the risk of mouth cancer

A new study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, suggests that the answer to why mouth cancer is still on the rise and so fatal, could be found in the UK diet. Researchers looked at data collected in Italy and Switzerland between 1997 and 2009, and measured how much the thousands of people recorded in the study adhered to a ‘Mediterranean diet’.

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation

The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active.

Researchers discovered that among the people in the study, those that adhered closely to the Mediterranean diet had a significantly lower chance of developing mouth cancer. They were around half as likely to contract the disease, than those with different diets.

Young adults and non-smokers also saw a reduced chance of developing the disease, although among these groups those that stuck to a Mediterranean diet were even less likely to contract mouth cancer. This proves just how much a poor diet can put people at risk. It is really interesting to note just how the risk for mouth cancer drops according to how thorough the Mediterranean diet is adhered to. The absence of processed foods is a key element to this.

Other benefits are that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of Heart Disease. In fact, an analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from Heart Disease and Cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

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