Plant-based diet may lower colorectal cancer risk in men

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Colorectal cancer remains one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide. However, a recent study from Kyung Hee University provides insight into dietary habits that might reduce its risk, particularly in men.

Plant-Based Diet: An Overview

At the heart of the study is the concept of a healthy plant-based diet. Such a diet prioritizes whole grains, various vegetables, and legumes.

Conversely, it minimizes the intake of unhealthy plant-derived products like refined grains, sugary fruit juices, and added sugars.

The Link Between Diet and Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer ranks as the third-most common cancer globally. Statistically, the lifetime risk stands at one in 23 for men and one in 25 for women.

While earlier research hinted at plant-based diets potentially playing a preventive role against colorectal cancer, the quality of plant food’s nutrition in this context remained ambiguous.

Key Findings from the Study

Researchers, while analyzing data from 79,952 American men, discovered that those who regularly consumed the highest amounts of healthy plant-derived foods had a 22% reduced risk of developing colorectal cancer.

This is in comparison to counterparts who ingested the least amounts of these foods.

Interestingly, this association did not seem prevalent in the parallel study involving 93,475 American women.

The team hypothesizes that the abundant antioxidants present in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may combat colorectal cancer risk by diminishing chronic inflammation – a known precursor to cancer.

Given that men inherently face a higher risk of colorectal cancer than women, this could elucidate the observed gender-based disparity in results.

Nuances Across Racial and Ethnic Lines

The research identified some intriguing patterns when accounting for race and ethnicity. In particular:

  • Japanese American men consuming the most healthy plant foods daily showed a 20% reduced colorectal cancer risk, compared to those consuming the least.
  • White men who consumed the highest quantities of these foods faced a 24% decreased colorectal cancer risk, compared to their counterparts consuming the least.
  • In contrast, there were no substantial associations discerned in African American, Latino, or Native Hawaiian men.

The team posits that the distinct associations observed in Japanese American and white men might arise due to variations in other colorectal cancer risk factors among diverse racial and ethnic cohorts.

Conclusion and Further Reading

For those interested in cancer-related research, other studies indicate potential links between dairy product consumption and an increased cancer risk, and the benefits of vitamin D supplements in significantly reducing cancer mortality.

Additionally, health enthusiasts might find it intriguing that coffee consumption might aid some men in combating prostate cancer. Similarly, certain common antidepressants show potential in halting cancer growth.

This enlightening research, helmed by Jihye Kim and her colleagues, was published in BMC Medicine.

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