New work finds that making health food choices by following a diet rich in fruits, veggies, low fat dairy products and fish is linked to a lowered colon cancer risk. If you’ve been following this issue, you know that earlier studies have brought conflicting findings about the effectiveness of eating this way.
Yet the latest work, just published in the Journal of Nutrition, found a clear benefit to eating healthy and reduced risk. Almost 147,000 new cases of colorectal cancer were identified last year in the United States, and this disease is the third leading cause of cancer in men, the fourth in women.
Paige Miller, PhD, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University, found that eating a healthy, plant based diet cut the risk of colon cancer by 65% in women and 62% in men. By any standards, this type of reduction is pretty impressive. Fish was part of the protective effect for men, while low fat dairy seems especially helpful for women, though the reason for this remains unclear.
The researchers looked at the diets of 431 men and women who had colorectal cancer alongside the eating habits of 716 healthy control subjects.
They categorized subjects into two eating styles; fruits and veggies diet pattern and a meat and potatoes, refined grains pattern. In men there was a third pattern, a diet that included lots of alcohol and sweetened drinks.
The diet pattern associated with higher cancer risk had more red and processed meats, poultry, fried and white potatoes, high fat dairy, refined grains, butter, gravy and mayonnaise, as well as the things we clearly expect to be bad, sweets and salty snacks.
Besides the reduction in colorectal cancer risk for those eating the fruits and veggie heavy diets, Miller found that more closely the subjects stuck to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPyramid recommendations, the lower the cancer risk – as much as 44% for men and 56% for women.
Nutritionists and experts like Miller will tell you not to focus on a single food, nutrient or something else in the diet. Instead, try to eat an overall plant-based diet that has lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds and vegetable oil. Experts think that these foods move waste through the colon more rapidly, which means any troublesome substance has less time to stick around.
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Revealed: Healthy Diet Cuts Colorectal Cancer Risk… Continued…
The take home message for anyone, concerned about colorectal cancer or not, is to adopt a diet that’s good for you, balanced and a way of eating you adopt for life.
Diet is only one part of the colon cancer picture…
A history of ulcerative colitis also increases your risk, as does a family history of the disease. Colon polyps are the sites where most colorectal cancers develop; so removing these polyps can prevent cancer from getting started.
There are other risks that you can affect. Stop smoking, take control of your weight and don’t drink to excess as these have all been linked to a higher colon cancer risk. It’s also important to get annual exams and screenings, as colon cancer can have no symptoms. Healthy food choices, early detection and treatment can, and does, save lives.