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Eating a Mediterranean-style diet could help you lower your risk of stomach cancer by a third, a study from Europe suggests.

"The results add to the evidence for the role of the Mediterranean diet in reducing cancer risk and add further support for the need to continue to promote the Mediterranean diet in areas where it is disappearing," Dr. Carlos A. Gonzalez of the Catalan Institute for Oncology in Barcelona and his colleagues say, according to Reuters.

The results of the study appeared in an online issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Studies suggest the Mediterranean diet - loaded with olive oil, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fish - could reduce the risk of several diseases and illnesses, including cancer, depression, and Alzheimer’s.

The European study examined gastric cancer, the second deadliest form of cancer worldwide. According to its most recent forecast, the American Cancer Society estimated 21,130 new cases of stomach cancer would be diagnosed in the United States in 2009. The organization also forecast 10,620 deaths from the disease.

The European researchers examined data covering 485,044 men and women aged 35 to 70 from 10 European countries. The data was pulled from a separate, ongoing major study known as the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, or EPIC.

Subjects in the stomach cancer study were given a score based on how closely their eating habits adhered to the Mediterranean diet.

“People with the highest relative Mediterranean diet scores were 33 percent less likely to develop the disease than people whose eating patterns were furthest from the Mediterranean ideal,” Reuters reported. “Gastric cancer risk fell 5 percent for every one-point increase in a person's Mediterranean diet score.”

It's yet another reason to follow a Mediterranean-style diet - if you aren't doing so already.

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