Saturday, January 28, 2023

Mediterranean diet: its protective role against cancer and how to adapt it to the Argentine table

There is growing evidence that lifestyle can make a difference against cancer.

Although there are many cases in which its development is favored by non-modifiable factors, it is known that through the observance of healthy habits, half of the cases can be prevented, in other cases (in which there is a genetic predisposition, for example) can reduce your risk of getting sick,

Eating is one of those habits that can play an important role not only in cancer prevention but also during treatment. And, in both instances, experts highlight the contribution of the Mediterranean diet, based on the findings of several studies.

A bibliographic review of studies published between 1990 and 2021 – based on PubMed, a database of free access and expertise in the health sciences – concluded that “there is enough evidence” On the protective role of the Mediterranean diet, considered as a lifestyle, in the prevention of cancer development.

“As a lifestyle, it includes very favorable dietary habits and social customs; moreover, it goes linked to physical activity often. All this, maintained over time, has a positive effect on the prevention of tumor growth”, emphasize the authors of the review, Ovidio Hernando-Riquejo and Hortensia García de Quinto, from the Puerta del Sol and Ramon y Cajal University Hospitals, respectively. Both from Madrid, Spain.

“The protective effect is mediated by the presence of many antioxidants and anti-inflammatories associated with the products frequently consumed in this diet; moreover, as a lifestyle, the Mediterranean diet represents a type of prevent overweight and obesitywhich are also direct causes of the development of neoplasia”, they highlight in an article published in the journal Nutrition Hospitalaria.

Some tumors in which following a Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of developing it are colon, breast, prostate and gastric cancer, among others.

prevention and treatment

In addition to genetic factors that may favor different types of cancer, a A large number of cases are due to obesity (linked to poor diet and sedentary lifestyle), smoking, infection, exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV), and alcohol consumption.

As a result, one of the main recommendations for prevention given by the National Cancer Institute (INC) – which the Ministry of Health relies on – is to adopt a healthy diet.

This diet, according to the INC, should be based on both daily intake of fruits and vegetables (at least five servings per day) and reducing intake of legumes, whole grains and nuts, such as cold cuts, sausage, butter, whole milk and pastry products, snacks and sweets.

And these are exactly the pillars on which the Mediterranean diet is based.

Mediterranean diet, health ally

It is a food pattern recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of humanity and by the World Health Organization (WHO) for its benefits for heart and brain health, the prevention and control of diabetes, and its protective role against certain types of cancer. has been promoted. Other Contributions.

“It is one of the most recommended diets by experts, because according to many studies, it is one of the best for reducing the risk of cancer, due to its balance“, says Professor Salvador Franco, Professor of Biological Sciences and Head of Nutrition Forums at the Cancers Con Queidados of the Sales Foundation.

But its benefits are not limited to prevention only, but also when the disease has been diagnosed.

“An adequate nutritional state is fundamental to being able to withstand illness and various treatments, so it is very important not toor follow any type of alternative diet Which is not determined by the dietician-nutritionist or the team of oncologists who know each patient’s case”, highlights a guide prepared in collaboration with the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO).

Currently – continues that guide – follow a healthy and balanced diet Based on the Mediterranean Diet PatternWill be recommended during cancer treatment.”




Olive oil, a fundamental component of the Mediterranean diet. Photo shutterstock.

Components of the Mediterranean Diet

The main characteristics of the Mediterranean diet can be summarized as:

✓ They are the main source of calories unrefined grains and legumes,

✓Contempla and consumption of seasonal fruits and vegetables,

✓ the Olive Oil plays a fundamental role.

✓Consumer animal proteinMainly from poultry, eggs and cheeses.

low intake of red meat,

✓ Fruits and nuts are the main sources of food in sweets.

✓ Although it is not mandatory, it does consider the consumption of up to one drink a day Red wine for women and up to two for men. However, there is increasing evidence that There is no safe limit for alcohol consumption,

Cereals, Especially Whole Grains, And Fish, The Basis Of The Mediterranean Diet.  Photo Shutterstock.


Cereals, especially whole grains, and fish, the basis of the Mediterranean diet. Photo shutterstock.

Mediterranean diet “a la Argentina”

But, can you follow a Mediterranean-style diet in Argentina?

During his visit to Buenos Aires in 2018, researcher Daniele del Río, director of the School of Advanced Studies in Nutrition and Food at the University of Parma (Italy), said there were possibilities to incorporate locally “Many”,

In a conversation with , he said, “The grain that is produced here works perfectly. The same goes for fruits and vegetables.” Bugle, Read the full note here.

“This group would include avocados, which provide large amounts of omega 3, a fatty acid with proven benefits for general health,” says Franco, from Fundación Salles, who “optimized” the Mediterranean diet. local possibilities and customs,

It is also recommended nuts like walnuts, Wide spread in our country. as well as chia and quinoa, which are grown in the north and center of Argentina,” he says.

There are also highly accessible protein-rich foods such as legumes, which can be lentils, chickpeas, beans,

And within proteins, other favorites of the Mediterranean diet are those provided by fish, which are recommended to be consumed at least twice a week,

“There are two types, the so-called blue fish, which have a fat index of more than 6%. Some examples are salmon, tuna, mackerel or trout, the latter of which is widely distributed in Patagonia,” he says. ,

Among the river peoples, he mentions the “classics” of the Argentine coast. Dorado, La Boga or El Pacu,

“White fish, which contains only 2% fat, includes hake, sea bass and soleWith a presence on the Atlantic coast of Buenos Aires, among others.”

Another important food item in this diet are whole grains, which can be included in the diet. bread, flour or pastaBecause they provide a large amount of fiber.

On a weekly basis, intake of Chicken, eggs, yogurt and soft cheeses which are lower in fat than hard cheeses and contain less sodium.

In the Mediterranean diet, red meat—the hallmark of the traditional Argentine diet—and sweets do not play a major role: they are consumed only occasionally.

Another recommendation is to reduce salt consumption, use olive oil for cooking and seasoning and above all, avoid eating processed foods,

Adopting these eating habits will help in “getting essential nutrients in the body” proper proportions and amounts: Ensures a good intake of fiber and antioxidants, and minimizes saturated fat and potentially carcinogenic compounds,” says Franco.

Furthermore, “it supports the organism to function correctly and the individual to be able to function physical activity Depending on the age and the task being developed. It also makes it possible to maintain a stable weight and prevent cardiovascular diseases, especially myocardial infarction,” he concluded.

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Do you want to know more about the Mediterranean diet?

These articles may interest you:

➪ Mediterranean Diet: Why It’s So Hard For Us To Incorporate & 5 Tips To Do It

➪ Better cognitive performance and lower mortality: It is an ideal diet for older adults

➪ These are the best diets for 2022

➪Best diet for heart, alcohol yes or no, heart attack symptoms and more: 8 frequently asked questions from cardiologists

➪ “Green Mediterranean Diet”: how it differs from the traditional one and how it enriches the microbiota

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