Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer With the Mediterranean Diet

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The Mediterranean Diet is linked to many positive health benefits — decreased blood pressure, weight loss, better brain health — and recent findings suggest it can also lower your risk of breast cancer.

Go right ahead: Pile your grocery cart extra high with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and olive oil. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a link between the Mediterranean Diet and a reduced risk for breast cancer. We tapped a Renown dietary expert to learn more. 

RELATED:  The Mediterranean in Your Own Kitchen

“My best tip for following the Mediterranean ‘diet’ is understanding that it is not a diet — it’s a pattern, or style of eating,” says Stephen Compston, RD, LD, Renown Outpatient Dietary Educator. “When people hear the word ‘diet,’ they think it will be hard to maintain, so I want to eliminate that word immediately.”

This style of eating emphasizes plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes and whole grains. You should limit foods high in saturated fat like butter and red meat and substitute with fish, lean poultry and olive oil.

Tips for Following a Mediterranean Diet — or ‘Style of Eating’

To stick with this pattern of eating, Compston says individuals need to be excited to try new things. He offers these additional recommendations:

  • Set small goals. For example, cook one more meal at home each week.
  • Focus on using less salt and more herbs and spices to season food.
  • Eat fish at least two times per week (canned tuna counts!), while limiting red meat (beef and pork) to one to two times per month.
  • Substitute healthy fats, like olive oil, in the place of butter when cooking.

Olive oil“We aren’t used to not tasting salt in our foods because most foods are processed, which means sodium has been added,” Compston says. “Cooking more from home would be the best piece of advice I can give to start to eating this way.”

He adds that you shouldn’t expect to completely change your habits all at once — make the switch over the course of a few weeks. “By doing it slowly, you will learn what works and what doesn’t work and will be more likely to stick with your new changes.”

To help get you started, try our Super Easy Seared Salmon and Spring Salad recipe. The dish is loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids (translation: good-for-you-fat) and is ready to serve in just 30 minutes. 

To get an assessment on your specific dietary needs, schedule a consultation with one of Renown’s registered dietitians at Health Improvement Programs. Call 775-982-5073.

 
Super Easy Seared Salmon & Spring Salad
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Ingredients
  • 6 ounce salmon
  • 1 cup loose spring mix
  • 1 ounce grilled red onion
  • 1 ounce grilled zucchini
  • 1 ounce grilled yellow squash
  • 1 ounce grilled red pepper
  • 4 each cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 medium lemon halved
  • 2 tsp olive oil separated
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • Nonstick oil spray like Pam or an olive oil spray
Instructions
  1. Spray sliced vegetable with a small amount of nonstick spray.
  2. Grill vegetables for 2 to 4 minutes per side, remove from grill and refrigerate.
  3. Lightly season one side of salmon with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a nonstick, oven ready pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the hot pan.
  5. Gently put salmon in pan, seasoned side down.
  6. Sear salmon for 2 to 4 minutes for desired color.
  7. Flip salmon and place pan into oven at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes.
  8. While the salmon is in the oven, toss spring mix with 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), desired amount of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.
  9. Place salad mixture on a plate, arrange grilled vegetables and tomatoes with the seared salmon and enjoy.
Recipe Notes

Wash all fruits and vegetables before preparing, including lemons.
Your nonstick pan needs to be hot before adding the oil.
To ensure fish is thoroughly cook, finish it in the oven.
If you like a little spice with your fish, use a sprinkle of crushed red pepper.

Search Recipes by Course or Cuisine!
Ingredients
  • 6 ounce salmon
  • 1 cup loose spring mix
  • 1 ounce grilled red onion
  • 1 ounce grilled zucchini
  • 1 ounce grilled yellow squash
  • 1 ounce grilled red pepper
  • 4 each cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 medium lemon halved
  • 2 tsp olive oil separated
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • Nonstick oil spray like Pam or an olive oil spray
Instructions
  1. Spray sliced vegetable with a small amount of nonstick spray.
  2. Grill vegetables for 2 to 4 minutes per side, remove from grill and refrigerate.
  3. Lightly season one side of salmon with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a nonstick, oven ready pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the hot pan.
  5. Gently put salmon in pan, seasoned side down.
  6. Sear salmon for 2 to 4 minutes for desired color.
  7. Flip salmon and place pan into oven at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes.
  8. While the salmon is in the oven, toss spring mix with 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), desired amount of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.
  9. Place salad mixture on a plate, arrange grilled vegetables and tomatoes with the seared salmon and enjoy.
Recipe Notes

Wash all fruits and vegetables before preparing, including lemons.
Your nonstick pan needs to be hot before adding the oil.
To ensure fish is thoroughly cook, finish it in the oven.
If you like a little spice with your fish, use a sprinkle of crushed red pepper.

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