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Mediterranean Diet May Lower Gastric Cancer Risk: Insights from a Meta-Analysis

Are you curious about how your dietary choices might impact your risk of developing gastric cancer? A recent meta-analysis delved into this question, examining the association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) and the likelihood of developing gastric cancer.

What Did the Study Explore?

The analysis drew insights from a massive pool of over a million individuals, spanning ages 19 to 85, involved in 11 observational studies. These studies—six cohorts and five case-controls—were conducted across Europe, the United States, and Asia. Each study rigorously accounted for potential influencing factors like age, sex, race, smoking habits, caloric intake, and physical activity.

Unveiling the Findings

The results unveiled a compelling relationship: individuals exhibiting the highest adherence to the MD experienced a significant 32% reduction in the odds of developing gastric cancer compared to those with the lowest adherence. This association remained robust across both cohort and case-control studies, indicating a consistent trend.

Further exploration revealed intriguing nuances within the data. In case-control studies, men exhibiting high adherence to the MD displayed reduced odds of gastric cancer, while this correlation wasn’t as evident among women in similar studies. Cohort studies also pointed to a disparity, showcasing lowered odds of gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma among those closely adhering to the MD but not for gastric cardia adenocarcinoma.

Quality Matters

Notably, the study emphasized the significance of robust methodology. Eight out of the 11 studies stood out for their high methodological quality, bolstering the reliability of the findings.

The Bottom Line

This meta-analysis offers promising evidence that a diet aligned with the Mediterranean dietary pattern could potentially lower the risk of gastric cancer. However, while the results are encouraging, they underscore the importance of considering multiple factors that might influence cancer development.

As we navigate this realm of dietary impacts on health, it’s a reminder that while dietary choices play a role, they’re just one piece of the puzzle. Yet, this study stands as a beacon, highlighting the potential benefits of embracing a Mediterranean-style diet in potentially reducing the risk of gastric cancer.

Bai X, Li X, Ding S, Dai D. Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet and Risk of Gastric Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2023; 15(17):3826. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15173826

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