This diet might increase lifespan, lower risk of cancer and reduce depression

Incidences of cancer are much lower Mediterranean counties compared to the US with “a 17% and 12% decreased cancer mortality.”

The American Cancer Society and The National Cancer Institute recently disclosed obesity as a plausible link to the five forms of cancer becoming increasingly common in millennials.  Roughly 36% of Americans, ages 20-39, are obese – a dispiriting number in its own right but doubly so when examined against a statistic that links 40% of cancer diagnosis’ to excessive body weight.

Being overweight causes increased inflammation, which indirectly inspires the growth of cancer cells by way of a myriad of chronic conditions. Additionally, many of the processed meats and beverages funding America’s weight problem have been independently linked to several carcinogens.

When these two factors (correlative and causal) are taken into consideration, along with the adverse impact obesity has on insulin and hormones (which allows cancer cells to multiply more readily), the data linking obesity to the five breeds of cancer inflicting young people break down as follows:

  • 60% of endometrial cancers
  • 36% of gallbladder cancers
  • 33% of kidney cancers
  • 17% of pancreatic cancers
  • 11% of different forms of myeloma

Optimal diet to reduce cancer risk

There are plenty of effective and healthy methods of losing weight but one, in particular, is suggested to do so with the added benefits of reducing your risk of cancer and providing mental fortitude to boot.

Michelle Qaqundah penned a report in the Natural Medicine Journal that details all the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet. Adherence has been proven to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, diabetes, and cancer. The combined efforts of fish, legumes, whole grains, oil and vegetables present reductions in oxidative damage, inflammation, and weight.

On balance, incidences of cancer are much lower Mediterranean counties compared to the United States.  Qaqundah reports:  “The [study] found a 17% and 12% decreased cancer mortality in men and women following the Mediterranean diet after 5 years of follow-up.”

As an added befit, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis analyzed 41 studies based on links between food and depression, concluding that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of depression by a third. “Especially the omega three fatty acids, those are known to have pretty clear effects with depression,” says researcher Charles Conway,

Many of the foods that the diet is composed have been independently proven to boost moods. Things like avocados, berries, tomatoes, walnuts, beans, and seeds.

How to adhere to The Mediterranean Diet

The diet is inspired by the foods commonly eaten by Italians and Greeks in the 1960s. There are plenty of ways to get creative with the diet but as far as the basics are concerned: Steer clear of red meat, for the most part, enjoy poultry, eggs and cheese sparingly, no processed meat, refined grains or oils, and no sugar-sweetened beverages. Also, eat all the veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, bread, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.

CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.