In a pooled analy­sis of 13 stud­ies, researchers exam­ined the rela­tion­ship between the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) and blad­der can­cer risk. They found high and medium adher­ence to the eat­ing plan appeared to have a pro­tec­tive effect.

Based on stud­ies that explore how food affects can­cer like­li­hood, health orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing the American Cancer Society, advo­cate fol­low­ing a nutri­tious eat­ing plan. This involves cen­ter­ing the diet on fruits, veg­eta­bles and whole grains while lim­it­ing red meat and processed meat.

The MedDiet is rich in anti-inflam­ma­tory foods, par­tic­u­larly fish, olive oil, fruit and veg­eta­bles. Since can­cer growth is accel­er­ated in a pro-inflam­ma­tory state, an anti-inflam­ma­tory diet would help lower the risk.- Michelle Routhenstein, a pre­ven­tive car­di­ol­ogy dietit­ian

However, the spe­cific role of diet in blad­der can­cer has not been deter­mined, so sci­en­tists from var­i­ous coun­tries around the globe decided to exam­ine the MedDiet’s impact on the dis­ease.

Earlier research shows the diet low­ers the risk of heart dis­ease, Alzheimer’s dis­ease and can­cer in gen­eral, as well as reduces lev­els of LDL, or bad, cho­les­terol.

See more: Health News

The MedDiet is com­prised mainly of plant-based foods of fruits, veg­eta­bles, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Instead of salt, it relies more on spices and herbs for fla­vor­ing; and rather than but­ter, it involves using the healthy fat of olive oil. The eat­ing plan includes eat­ing fish and poul­try at least twice a week, and it lim­its red meat con­sump­tion to a few times per month.

Yet the MedDiet is more than a list of dietary inclu­sions and exclu­sions. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is actu­ally a lifestyle that embraces get­ting reg­u­lar exer­cise, enjoy­ing meals with fam­ily and friends, and drink­ing red wine in mod­er­a­tion.

In the pooled analy­sis called the Bladder Cancer Epidemiology and Nutritional Determinants (BLEND) study, researchers looked at dietary data from more than 600,000 par­tic­i­pants. Of these indi­vid­u­als, 2,425 received a blad­der can­cer diag­no­sis: 1,480 had the non-mus­cle-inva­sive type, and 945 had the mus­cle-inva­sive vari­ety.

The par­tic­i­pants were from Denmark, Australia, Spain, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Aside from dietary infor­ma­tion, the data included gen­der, age, eth­nic­ity, smok­ing sta­tus and blad­der can­cer pathol­ogy, which denoted whether the malig­nancy was mus­cle inva­sive or non-mus­cle inva­sive.

“At present, the bet­ter-estab­lished risk fac­tors asso­ci­ated with devel­op­ing blad­der can­cer include smok­ing, age, male sex, occu­pa­tion and to a lesser extent obe­sity and phys­i­cal inac­tiv­ity,” the research team wrote. “Since most of the metabo­lites of ingested food come into direct con­tact with the blad­der mucosa, diet might also play a role in the devel­op­ment of blad­der can­cer.”

After ana­lyz­ing food intake data, the sci­en­tists cat­e­go­rized par­tic­i­pants into three groups: low‑, medium- and high-adher­ence to the MedDiet.

They found men and for­mer smok­ers had a higher risk of blad­der can­cer. In addi­tion, they dis­cov­ered those who in the diet’s medium- and high-adher­ence groups had a lower inci­dence of the can­cer com­pared to those in the low-adher­ence group.

“We could not iso­late any par­tic­u­lar sub­group of foods (i.e. fats, alco­hol) from the Mediterranean diet score that pro­vided a greater ben­e­fit over oth­ers,” the researchers wrote. “This may be because it describes the over­all effect of the com­bined fac­tors of the dietary pat­tern to be most pro­tec­tive.”

The study was pub­lished in the European Journal of Nutrition.

Michelle Routhenstein, a pre­ven­tive car­di­ol­ogy dietit­ian and owner of Entirely Nourished, told Olive Oil Times how the MedDiet may play a role in can­cer pre­ven­tion.

“The MedDiet is rich in anti-inflam­ma­tory foods, par­tic­u­larly fish, olive oil, fruit and veg­eta­bles,” she said. “Since can­cer growth is accel­er­ated in a pro-inflam­ma­tory state, an anti-inflam­ma­tory diet would help lower the risk. Moreover, the diet is rich in antiox­i­dants, which quench free rad­i­cals that can turn into can­cer growth, thereby help­ing to pre­vent cell muta­tion and can­cer devel­op­ment.”




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