Mediterranean Diet May Protect Against Stomach Cancer
March 26, 2010
By: E. Huff
A study conducted by the Catalan Institute for Oncology in Barcelona has concluded that eating a “Mediterranean” diet significantly reduces the risk of developing stomach cancer. Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study focused specifically on gastric cancer which is the second most common cause of cancer death in the world.
Dr. Carlos Gonzalez and his colleagues evaluated a European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study of over 485,000 people from ten European countries. In the study, participants were evaluated based on how closely their diets aligned with the traditional Mediterranean diet. Such a diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fish, as opposed to the Western diet which is rich in meat and dairy products.
What they found was that those whose diets most closely matched the traditional Mediterranean diet were 33 percent less likely to develop stomach cancer than those who fell on the opposite end of the diet spectrum. Developed on an 18-point scale, the study revealed that for each point gained on the Mediterranean diet spectrum, a person’s risk of developing stomach cancer drops by 5 percent.
Since stomach cancer is extremely deadly, claiming the lives of over 75 percent of people who have it in just five years, researchers are aiming to pinpoint the ideal dietary composition for preventing its onset. According to them, the Mediterranean diet is an excellent start in helping to stave off stomach cancer.
Similar studies have found other benefits that can be derived from eating a Mediterranean diet, including reducing inflammation, preventing heart disease, and preventing obesity and diabetes.
A 2009 study published in Cancer Prevention Research found that a compound in broccoli called isothiocyanate sulforaphane (SF) works to prevent gastritis, ulcers, and ultimately stomach cancer. Conducted using broccoli sprouts, the study revealed that SF increases the activity of certain enzymes that protect the stomach from oxidative damage, effectively guarding it from developing disease.
Broccoli, as well as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and Chinese “bok choy” also contains indole-3-carbinols (I3Cs) which is another powerful anti-cancer molecule. Not only do these compounds prevent precancerous cells from turning into malignant tumors, they effectively detoxify the body and help to maintain alkalinity. I3Cs are also capable of killing existing cancer cells and stopping tumors from growing.
Other anti-cancer foods include garlic, onions, turmeric, ginger, pomegranates, citrus fruits, berries, and cacao, just to name a few.