Eating a plant-based diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes can reduce the risk of bowel cancer in men by more than a fifth, according to research, according to a research study put together by Dr. Jihye Kim, published on 29 November in BioMed Central journal.
A large study that involved 79,952 US-based men found that those who ate the largest amounts of healthy plant-based foods had a 22% lower risk of bowel cancer compared with those who ate the least.
The researchers found no such link for women, of whom 93,475 were included in the research. The team suggested that the link is clearer for men, who have an overall higher risk of bowel cancer.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common malignancy and the fourth most common cause of cancer death worldwide. Although screening and treatment for colorectal cancer have improved, new preventive strategies to lower risk remain a priority.
Accumulating evidence indicates that diet is an important modifiable risk factor for colorectal cancer, the study showed. Red and processed meats are associated with an increased risk whereas foods rich in dietary fibre are associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer, suggesting that plant-based diets play a role in the prevention of the disease.
The study defined plant-based diets as including various dietary patterns in terms of low consumption of animal foods. The study noted that vegetarian or vegan diet excludes some or all animal foods. Lacto-(ovo)-vegetarians or pesco-vegetarians consume dairy foods/egg or additionally fish. However, the definitions of vegan or vegetarian diets do not consider the nutritional quality of plant foods, despite the fact that not all plant foods are healthy. For instance, some plant foods, such as refined grains, sweets, and sugar-sweetened beverages adversely affect colorectal cancer incidence.
BMC Journal Plant -based study shows reduced colorectal cancer risk.
Guardian Researchers show plant-based diet and bowel cancer.