Research Roundup

January 2016 Issue

On Olive Oil, the Western Diet and Vitamin C

Mediterranean Diet + Olive Oil Cuts Breast Cancer.

Eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with four tablespoons per day of extra-virgin olive oil may reduce the risk of breast cancer. The study followed 4,000 women, 60-80 years of age, who were assigned to either a low-fat diet or the Mediterranean-plus-olive-oil diet. During a five-year period, the women following the Mediterranean diet had a 68 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer compared to women on the low-fat diet.

(JAMA Internal Medicine, September 2015)

Western Diet Leads to Smaller Brain.

Research suggests that the hippocampus—the part of the brain used for learning, memory, and mental health—is smaller in people who eat more unhealthful foods, such as those who follow the Western diet. Older adults who consumed more unhealthful foods like sweet drinks, salty snacks, and processed meats, had a smaller hippocampus, while those who ate a nutrient-rich diet, including fruits and vegetables, had a larger hippocampus. The study included 255 Australian adults aged 60-64 who underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the left and right hippocampal volumes.

(BMC Medicine, September 2015)

Vitamin C May Protect Heart.

High vitamin C blood levels were associated with a 15-percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a 20-percent reduced risk of early death, according to data from 100,000 individuals. This study further supports that high intake of fruits and vegetables, which can naturally raise plasma vitamin C concentrations, is associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality.

(The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2015)