Living with cancer blog

Mediterranean Diet healthy choice for cancer survivors

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. May 5, 2012

Many of you have asked for a specific diet to follow as a cancer survivor. Taking charge of your diet can be a powerful way to make a positive impact on your overall health.

Research has shown that following a Mediterranean diet can reduce the incidence of cancer and mortality from cancer, and prevent or improve the outcome of other chronic diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease).

The Mediterranean diet originates from the culture and traditional foods found in the area bordering the Mediterranean Sea — primarily using fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, and fish.

Share a meal with friends and family, add a glass of red wine, plenty of exercise, and you have a winning concept.

If this is a new idea for you, here are a few simple ways to get started:

  • Increase your fresh fruit and vegetable servings (7-10 servings a day).
  • Switch to whole grains (look for whole grain breads, cereals and pasta).
  • Use olive oil instead of butter or margarine.
  • Add herbs and spices instead of salt to enhance flavors.
  • Eat fish and poultry instead of red meat.
  • Choose low fat dairy products.
  • Have a glass of red wine with dinner (if you can't have alcohol, drink purple grape juice for the same benefit).

Most people who switch to a Mediterranean diet find that it's an easy, delicious and satisfying way to eat healthy. Try it; you may never go back to your old habits.

For more resources and a great slide show featuring the Mediterranean diet see Share your comments and thoughts on this topic with each other.


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

May 05, 2012