Eat your veggies: how good food fights bad cancer

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The Good Food, Good Health Study

A team of smart people from a place called Kyung Hee University did a study.

They found out that eating lots of healthy plant foods can help lower the chance of getting a certain kind of cancer. The kind of cancer is called colorectal cancer, and it mostly happens in the belly.

What is a Healthy Plant-Based Diet?

When we say “healthy plant-based diet,” we mean eating lots of good foods that come from plants.

These are things like whole grains (like brown rice), vegetables (like carrots and spinach), and legumes (like beans and peas).

What we don’t mean are things like refined grains (like white bread), fruit juices (because they have lots of sugar), and other foods with added sugars (like candy).

Colorectal Cancer: The Bad Guy

Colorectal cancer is a big problem around the world. It is the third-most common cancer. If you think about all the men in the world, one out of every 23 will get this cancer. For women, it’s one out of every 25.

The Power of Plants

Before this study, some people thought that a plant-based diet might help prevent colorectal cancer. But they were not sure how important the quality of the plant foods was.

In the new study, the scientists studied a large group of American men. They found that the men who ate the most healthy plant foods had a 22% lower risk of getting colorectal cancer.

This is compared to the men who ate the fewest healthy plant foods. But for a big group of American women, they did not find a strong link between the quality of plant foods and the risk of colorectal cancer.

Why Do Plants Help?

The scientists think that fruits, vegetables, and whole grains help because they have something called antioxidants.

Antioxidants are like soldiers that fight against something bad in our bodies called inflammation. If inflammation is not stopped, it can lead to cancer.

Men have a higher chance of getting colorectal cancer than women. This might be why eating lots of healthy plant foods seems to help men more than women.

Does Everyone Benefit the Same Way?

The scientists found that not everyone gets the same benefits from a healthy plant-based diet.

For example, Japanese American men and white men who ate lots of healthy plant foods had a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

But the scientists did not find the same link for African American men, Latino men, or Native Hawaiian men.

Why Does This Happen?

Scientists think that maybe different groups of people have different risk factors for colorectal cancer. This might explain why the plant-based diet helps some people more than others.

What’s Next?

The study was done by a smart person named Jihye Kim and her team. If you’re interested in how to prevent cancer, you can read about other things.

Some studies show that eating too many dairy products can increase the risk of cancer. But taking vitamin D supplements can help lower the risk of dying from cancer.

There are also other studies that show how coffee can help some men fight another type of cancer, called prostate cancer. And a common medicine that helps with sadness can also help stop cancer from growing.

Remember, eating lots of good plant foods is one of the ways to fight against colorectal cancer. So eat your veggies!

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