When you include the American Institute for Cancer Research in your estate plans, you make a major difference in the fight against cancer.

Corporate Champions who partner with the American Institute for Cancer Research stand at the forefront of the fight against cancer

The Continuous Update Project (CUP) is an ongoing program that analyzes global research on how diet, nutrition and physical activity affect cancer risk and survival.

A major milestone in cancer research, the Third Expert Report analyzes and synthesizes the evidence gathered in CUP reports and serves as a vital resource for anyone interested in preventing cancer.

Whether you are a healthcare provider, a researcher, or just someone who wants to learn more about cancer prevention, we’re here to help.

AICR has pushed research to new heights, and has helped thousands of communities better understand the intersection of lifestyle, nutrition, and cancer.

Read real-life accounts of how AICR is changing lives through cancer prevention and survivorship.

We bring a detailed policy framework to our advocacy efforts, and provide lawmakers with the scientific evidence they need to achieve our objectives.

AICR champions research that increases understanding of the relationship between nutrition, lifestyle, and cancer.

AICR’s resources can help you navigate questions about nutrition and lifestyle, and empower you to advocate for your health.

AICR is committed to putting what we know about cancer prevention into action. To help you live healthier, we’ve taken the latest research and made 10 Cancer Prevention Recommendations.

May 4, 2017 | 3 minute read

Mediterranean Diet and Cancer Prevention

If you’re trying to eat healthy, there’s a good chance you’ve come across (or tried) the Mediterranean diet. Nutrition experts consistently rank the Mediterranean diet among the best eating patterns, and it’s well recognized for its role in heart health. But did you know this colorful and plant-packed diet also boasts powerful cancer-preventive benefits?

Most research on this diet focuses on the heart health benefits, but a few studies have looked at whether the Mediterranean diet might reduce cancer risk. Because the diet focuses on plant foods, fish, moderate amounts of dairy and limited red meat, it mirrors much of what we know about a diet that reduces cancer risk. So far, there are some promising results, but more research is needed to know if there is a clear link.

Emerging Research on the Mediterranean Diet and Breast Cancer
One study suggests that following a Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of a less common type of postmenopausal breast cancer that is difficult to treat.

For now, the good news is you can easily shape your cancer-protective New American Plate with a delicious array of foods commonly found in the Mediterranean diet.

The traditional Mediterranean diet is drawn from Greece, Italy and its neighbors. But other cuisines have also influenced today’s Mediterranean diet. There are plenty of familiar foods in this diet, but you’ll also discover some surprising additions to boost flavor, texture and variety.

  • Build your plate around vegetables and fruit: Start building your plate with vegetables like tomatoes, corn and potatoes that are inexpensive and easy to find. Fruits are also a key part of a Mediterranean cancer-fighting plate.
  • Think beyond meat proteins: In the Mediterranean diet, the main proteins are fish, eggs and plant proteins, with just moderate amounts of chicken and smaller portions of lean red meat. That fits into a cancer-protective diet, because too much red meat links to increased colorectal cancer risk. And even small amounts of processed meats – such as ham and bacon – eaten regularly increases stomach and colorectal cancer risk.
  • Add budget-friendly staples like chickpeas, lentils and other beans to your day. These Mediterranean diet foods are packed with fiber, which lowers the risk of colorectal cancer. Add them to your soups, salads and one-pot meals for a plant protein boost along with cancer-fighting fiber and other plant compounds.
  • Cook with commonly used Mediterranean herbs and spices like basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, mint and thyme, or a spice mixture like Harissa can pump up flavor. Many of these spices ares studied for their cancer-protective compounds.
  • Keep portions moderate: That’s part of the Mediterranean dietary pattern and it will help you with weight management. Keeping to a healthy weight is one of the key steps you can take to reduce your risk of many of the most common cancers. For healthy desserts, keep it light. Think fresh fruit salad with mint and honey, creamy yogurt or simply a platter of meaty dates, pistachios, apricots, figs and other fruit.

Try these delicious recipes to help create a cancer-fighting, Mediterranean-inspired New American Plate:

For a full Mediterranean Menu
From salad through dessert, here are a few Mediterranean-inspired favorites to get you started.

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