New Study Has Identified A Diet Could Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk In Men
“Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide and the risk of developing colorectal cancer over a lifetime is one in 23 for men and one in 25 for women,” according to the authors.
A plant-based diet high in healthy plant foods like whole grains, vegetables, and legumes and low in harmful plant foods like refined grains, fruit juices, and added sugars has been linked to a decreased risk of colorectal cancer in males. The results are published in BMC Medicine.
The corresponding author, Jihye Kim, says, “Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide and the risk of developing colorectal cancer over a lifetime is one in 23 for men and one in 25 for women.
Although prior research has shown that plant-based diets may have a role in avoiding colorectal cancer, the effect of the nutritional content of plant foods on this connection remains unclear. New data indicate that a plant-based diet is linked to a lower risk of colon cancer.
In a study of 79,952 American males, researchers from Kyung Hee University in South Korea discovered that individuals with the greatest average daily intake of healthful plant-based foods had a 22% reduced risk of colorectal cancer than those with the lowest intake. Among 93,475 American women, the authors could not find any significant connections between the nutritional quality of plant-based diets and the risk of colorectal cancer.
Jihye Kim and team believe that the antioxidants included in diets like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by reducing chronic inflammation, which may lead to cancer. We suggest that the fact that males typically had a higher risk of colorectal cancer than women may assist to explain why consuming more nutritious plant-based foods was linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer in men but not women.
The authors found that the link between the nutritional quality of plant-based diets and the risk of colorectal cancer in men was different depending on their race or ethnicity. Among Japanese American males, those who consumed the most nutritious plant foods daily had a 20% decreased chance of developing colorectal cancer than those who consumed the least. White men who ate the most healthy plant foods had a 24% lower chance of getting colorectal cancer than those who ate the least healthy plant foods. The investigators found no significant links between plant-based diets and the incidence of colorectal cancer among African-American, Latino, and Native Hawaiian males.
“We suggest that the association between plant-based diets and colorectal cancer risk may have been strongest in Japanese American and white men due to differences in other colorectal cancer risk factors between racial and ethnic groups. However, further research is needed to confirm this.”
The scientists used data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study, which included participants from Hawaii and Los Angeles, USA, recruited between 1993 and 1996 to investigate the association between plant-based diets and the risk of colorectal cancer. At the start of the study, the average age of the men was 60 years and the average age of the women was 59 years. Of the male participants, 24,138 (30.2%) were Japanese Americans, followed by 20,663 (25.8%), 19,198 (24.0%) Latinos, 10,381 (13.0%) African Americans, and 5,572 (7.0%) Native Hawaiians.
Based on the participants’ self-reported dietary habits over the course of a year, the authors determined whether the diets of the study’s participants tended to be rich in plant-based foods that the authors considered healthy, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, or unhealthy, such as refined grains, fruit juices, and added sugars. Using information from cancer registries, they estimated the annual rate of new cases of colorectal cancer until 2017. Factors such as age, body mass index, smoking status, exercise habits, alcohol intake, multivitamin usage and therapy, and caloric intake were taken into consideration. They also took into consideration whether or not the women had used HRT. During the course of the trial, 4,976 patients (or 2.9%) were diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
The researchers warn that because their study was based on observations, it is not possible to draw any conclusions about a link between eating plant-based foods and the risk of colorectal cancer. In their analyses, they also didn’t take into account how foods like fish and dairy may help lower the risk of colorectal cancer. It is also possible that the diets of the participants, which were recorded at the beginning of the research, are not indicative of their diets throughout the course of their whole lives.
Future studies, according to the authors, are required to look into the genetic and environmental variables that could affect how dietary consumption of plant-based foods and colorectal cancer risk vary by racial and ethnic groups.
Image Credit: Getty
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