Women who eat a Mediterranean diet could cut their risk of womb cancer by more than half, says a study.

Italian researchers looked at the diets of over 5,000 Italian women to see how closely they stuck to a Mediterranean diet and whether they went on to develop womb cancer.

"Our research shows the impact a healthy balanced diet could have on a woman’s risk of developing womb cancer," said lead author Cristina Bosetti from the IRCCS-Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche, Italy.

The Mediterranean diet was cut down into nine different components and measured how closely women stuck to them.

The diet includes eating lots of vegetables, fruits and nuts, pulses, cereals and potatoes, fish, monounsaturated fats but little meat, milk and other dairy products and moderate alcohol intake.

Women who adhered to the Mediterranean diet most closely by eating between seven and nine of the beneficial food groups lowered their risk of womb cancer by more than half (57 percent).

Those who stuck to six elements of the diet’s components reduced their risk of womb cancer by 46 percent and those who stuck to five reduced their risk by a third (34 percent).

But those women whose diet included fewer than five of the components did not lower their risk of womb cancer significantly.

"Cancer risk is affected by our age and our genes but a healthy lifestyle can also play a part in reducing the risk of some cancers. Not smoking, keeping a healthy weight, being active, eating healthily and cutting down on alcohol helps to stack the odds in your favour," said Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK’s head of health information.

The results were outlined in the British Journal of Cancer.