Healthy plant-based diet can lower bowel cancer risk in men by 22% - new study

Following a healthy plant-based has many benefits for your body. A healthy plant-based diet is rich in vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts.

According to new research, this kind of food can reduce the risk of bowel cancer in men by more than a fifth.

The study conducted by scientists from a South Korean university involved nearly 80,000 US-based men aged 60 on average. The participants were asked how often and how much they consumed certain foods and drinks from a list of more than 180 items.

Scientists grouped the foods into different categories. The healthy plant-based foods included whole grains, veggies, legumes, pulses, fruits, nuts, vegetable oils, tea and coffee. The less healthy plant-based foods listed more processed foods, including fruit juices, refined grains, added sugar, starchy veggies like potatoes, added sugar and animal-based foods such as meat, eggs, fish and dairy.

The study participants indicated the size of portions and frequency of eating certain foods. The researchers divided the daily consumption per 1,000kcal into quintiles, from the largest daily amount to the smallest.

The study results show that those who ate a lot of healthy plant-based foods had a 22% lower risk of bowel cancer than those who ate the least of plant-based foods.

“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,” said the study author, Jihye Kim from Kyung Hee University, South Korea.
“Although previous research has suggested that plant-based diets may play a role in preventing colorectal cancer, the impact of plant foods’ nutritional quality on this association has been unclear. Our findings suggest that eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.”

“We speculate that the antioxidants found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains could contribute to lowering colorectal cancer risk by suppressing chronic inflammation, which can lead to cancer,” added Kim.

“As men tend to have a higher risk of colorectal cancer than women, we propose that this could help explain why eating greater amounts of healthy plant-based foods was associated with reduced colorectal cancer risk in men but not women.”

Men over the age of 60 are at the highest risk of bowel cancer, and they make up the majority of those diagnosed with this illness.
During the study, 4,976 (2.9%) participants developed bowel cancer.

The study authors cautioned that the study was only observational and no scientific conclusions could be made about a relationship between plant-based food intake and colorectal cancer risk.

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