Heart Healthy Mediterranean Diet May Cut Breast Cancer Risk

canstockphoto13663884For years, we’ve heard a lot about the heart health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. Now an analysis from a randomized trial suggests this diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and nuts, may help lower risk of breast cancer.

The analysis, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is from the PREDIMED trial – a 6 year study that includes data from over 4000 women, 60-80 years old and at high risk for cardiovascular disease. The women had been assigned to follow one of three diets, a Mediterranean diet where they received extra virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet with provided mixed nuts, or they were advised to follow a low fat diet. The women had quarterly sessions with a dietitian to assess how well they were following the diet.

At the end of the study, the women following the Mediterranean diet with olive oil showed a 62% lower risk of malignant breast cancer than the control, low fat diet group. When researchers put the olive oil and nuts groups together, there was a 51% relative risk reduction compared to the control group. Continue reading

Focus on the Food – Not Calories – to Lower Cancer, Chronic Disease Risk

Heart disease, cancer and diabetes together cause about 1.3 million deaths each year in the US. A key lifestyle strategy for preventing and/or managing these diseases is getting to and staying a healthy weight. But losing weight – and keeping it off – is hard, and though many people are able to improve their weight, many more struggle to be successful.

Last month an editorial in Open Heart made a strong case that it’s time to stop counting calories and instead, focus on WHAT you eat.

A healthy diet, with plenty of vegetables and healthy fats, has both quick results for better health and long-term benefits for weight, argue the authors. They cite studies looking at how shifting to a healthy diet can lead to immediate positive effect on cardiovascular disease and diabetes. One of their examples is from the PREDIMED study where participants who ate a Mediterranean, plant-based diet with nuts and olive oil, but not calorie restriction, showed lower rates of type 2 diabetes and improved metabolic health.

We also know – from AICR’s evidence-based recommendations – that eating a diet built on plant foods like vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts, can reduce risk for many cancers, including colorectal and endometrial.

NAPC Infographic_Sept18UpdateBut survey after survey finds that the vast majority of adults and kids in our country are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Continue reading

Drinking Water Before Meals May Help You Lose Weight

Does the old weight loss advice to drink water before a meal really help? A new study says it just might. Finding simple, low-cost and effective strategies for weight loss could mean lower cancer risk for thousands of Americans every year because too much body fat is a cause of ten cancers, including colorectal and post-menopausal breast.

The 12 week study, published in Obesity, randomized 84 obese adults into two groups: one group was told to drink 2 cups of water 30 minutes before meals and the other to imagine their stomachs were full 30 minutes before their meals. All participants were given a half hour session on weight management strategies and all received a follow-up phone call later to gauge how closely they were following their plan – either water drinking or stomach imagining. The researchers also sent them text messages reminders and participants completed questionnaires about compliance throughout the study.

Both groups lost weight, but the water drinking group lost, on average, about 3 pounds more than those who imagined full stomachs. About one-third of the water drinkers did so 3 times per day. Even more impressive is that they lost an average of 8 pounds more than those who reported drinking water 0-1 times per day before meals. Continue reading