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   Jul 04

Struggling to manage a Mediterranean diet? There are just THREE key rules scientists say you need to master (and they will reduce your cancer risk by up to 86 per cent)

Boosting your fruit and fish intake, and reducing soft drinks, are the key points

Each dietary change lowers the risk of pre-cancerous colorectal lesions by 30%

All three healthy choices reduce the chances of developing lesions by 86%

Eating just two or three foods typical of a Mediterranean diet halves lesion risk

Colorectal cancer is associated with a low-fibre diet rich in red meat and alcohol

Consuming more fruit and fish, and less fizzy drinks, are the most important aspects of a Mediterranean diet, new research reveals.

Individually, each dietary change reduces the risk of developing pre-cancerous colorectal polyps by more than 30 per cent, according to researchers.

Making all three healthy choices lowers the risk of such lesions by up to 86 per cent, they add.

The results further revealed eating just two or three foods typical of a Mediterranean diet – such as opting for olive oil over butter – halves the risk of developing such polyps.

Colorectal cancer is associated with a low-fibre diet with large amounts of red meat, alcohol and high-calorie foods.


A leading doctor has studied the ‘world’s healthiest village’ – and revealed the secret to the remarkable longevity of its residents, who live to over the age of 100.

Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra found many of the locals in Pioppi in southern Italy consume very little sugar, despite their high-fat diet.

The villagers rarely suffer from diabetes or heart disease, which he says is down to them eating sugar just once a week.

As well as diet, other key factors are a lack of stress and getting seven hours of sleep a night – and they even have a glass of wine every day.

Pioppi is protected by UNESCO as the home of the Mediterranean diet.

How the study was carried out

Researchers from Tel-Aviv Medical Center analysed the dietary questionnaires of 808 people undergoing screening or diagnostic colonoscopies.

All of the participants were aged between 40 and 70 and did not have a high risk of colorectal, or bowel, cancer.

A Mediterranean diet was defined as consuming above average amounts of fruits, vegetables and legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fish and meat, as well as a high ratio of monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, to saturated fats, like butter.

The diet also involves a below average consumption of red meat, alcohol and high-calorie foods.

Key findings

Results revealed that people whose colonoscopies showed advanced polyps reported eating fewer components of a Mediterranean diet.

Even eating two to three foods typical of the diet halved the risk of developing advancing polys compared to consuming none.

High amounts of fruit and fish, and low soft drink consumption, was found to be the best combination for reducing the risk of advanced polyps.

The findings were presented at the ESMO 19th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer.


A DIY test that detects the early signs of bowel cancer could save thousands of Britons from unnecessary and invasive hospital procedures, doctors said last month.

The kit is being issued by GPs to NHS patients suffering lower abdominal pain and bleeding, after trials revealed the test is so accurate that it ‘ruled out’ tumours in more than 95 per cent of cases.

At present, anyone with such symptoms will be referred to a specialist for a colonoscopy – a procedure that involves a camera on a thin flexible tube being passed into the bowel.

Just four per cent of the 260,000 Britons sent for the internal examination last year actually had bowel cancer, yet the number of colonoscopy referrals is predicted to nearly double in the next 15 years, imposing a huge burden on already stretched hospitals.

It is hoped that the new Quantitative Faecal Immunochemical Test (qFIT) could slash the number of specialist referrals almost in half.

Experts are also considering rolling out the new test as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.

What the experts say

Study author Naomi Fliss Isakov said: ‘We found that each one of these three choices was associated with a little more than 30 per cent reduced odds of a person having an advanced, pre-cancerous colorectal lesion, compared to people who did not eat any of the MD components.

‘Among people who made all three healthy choices the benefit was compounded to almost 86% reduced odds.’

Commenting on the study, ESMO spokesperson Dirk Arnold, MD, PhD, from Instituto CUF de Oncologia in Lisbon, Portugal, said ‘this large population-based cohort-control study impressively confirms the hypothesis of an association of colorectal polyps with diets and other lifestyle factors.

‘This stands in line with other very recent findings on nutritive effects, such as the potential protective effects of nut consumption and Vitamin D supplementation which have been shown earlier this year.

‘However, it remains to be seen whether these results are associated with reduced mortality, and it is also unclear if, and when a dietary change would be beneficial.

‘Despite this lack of information, it makes sense to consider this diet for other health-related reasons also.’

Source: Daily Mail

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