The potential health benefits of eating a Mediterranean diet have been landing in my Inbox frequently. A new study suggests women past the age of menopause could lower their breast cancer risk by sticking to a Mediterranean diet - which includes olive oil - and avoiding a “Western” diet involving meat, French fries, alcohol, butter and the like. The French study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, said such a diet regimen “may contribute to a substantial reduction” in breast cancer risk among women who've already been through menopause. Researchers identified a "healthy/Mediterranean” diet essentially as vegetables, fruits, seafood, olive oil, and sunflower oil. They said the "alcohol/Western" diet included: meat products, French fries, rice and pasta, potatoes, pizza, canned fish, eggs, alcoholic beverages, cakes, mayonnaise, butter and cream. The study tracked 65,374 women living in France. Among them, 2,381 developed post-menopausal invasive breast cancer during a median follow-up period of 9.7 years. Other research we've seen showing the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet:
- A Spanish study found the diet can "significantly" cut your risk of depression.
- An Italian study said the diet may be just the ticket for diabetics to lead a healthier life and reduce their need for drugs.
- A U.S. study reported a naturally occurring compound found in extra virgin olive oil, oleocanthal, could help prevent Alzheimer's.