A healthy diet plays an important role in primary and secondary prevention of cancer. The Mediterranean diet is associated with lower risk of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, diabetes, and cancer—especially cancers of the breast and colon.
The mechanisms responsible for these effects include reductions in inflammation, oxidative damage, metabolic syndrome, and weight.
The Mediterranean diet consists primarily of fish, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, potatoes, fruits, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), moderate amounts of wine, and small amounts of red meat. It limits processed foods and refined sugar. Achieving this dietary pattern is a simple and attainable goal.
Certain food preparation techniques can improve the bioavailability of important nutrients in the Mediterranean diet.
Observational and clinical studies show the Mediterranean diet is effective for primary and possibly secondary prevention of cancer.