A diet so good it can scare off breast cancer

My friends know I'm more than a little obsessive about what I eat.

I don't just follow the Mediterranean diet. I stick to it the way peanut butter (which is allowed, by the way) sticks to the roof of your mouth.

It's not just me. This diet is catching on in a big way in places thousands of miles away from the Mediterranean, like here in San Diego -- and if you haven't tried it yourself, I say it's high time to see what the fuss is all about.

And ladies, the latest research shows why you really want to join me on this one. The study finds this healthy lifestyle -- already proven to slash the risk of heart attack and stroke -- can cut your risk of one of the nation's leading killers of women.

The closer you follow a Mediterranean diet, the lower your risk of breast cancer!

Of course, there are many kinds of breast cancer including some common forms that you don't need to worry about too much.

A "stage zero" cancer, for example, often won't hurt you and may not even need treatment.

But that's not what we're taking about here.

The new study finds this diet can specifically cut your risk of estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer.

That's an aggressive form of the disease that often turns up after menopause.

It's tough to treat, and tough to beat.

But if you follow a Mediterranean lifestyle, your risk of this deadly form of breast cancer drops by 40 percent.

That's an incredible benefit. Heck, if a drug could make that promise it would be a blockbuster.

It would also cost an arm and a leg and come with big risks -- so forget drugs and commit to this lifestyle instead.

Just keep two things in mind.

First, if you want the cancer-beating benefit, you can't wait until you have the disease to make the switch.

That's much too late.

In the study, many of the women had been on this diet for two decades or more -- so the time to act is right now.

And second, if you've ever been in a Mediterranean home, you'll probably notice that a bottle of wine is always on the table.

Many people consider wine, in moderation, to be part of this diet.

But alcohol can actually increase the risk of some forms of cancer, including breast cancer. The risk is so well-known that the researchers excluded drinkers, focusing instead on women on the Mediterranean diet who didn't drink.

So if you want that 40 percent cut in cancer risk, you're going to have to give up booze... or at least save it for special occasions such as holidays and celebrations.