Healthy plant-based diets may reduce risk of colorectal cancer in men

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Colorectal cancer ranks as the third-most prevalent cancer globally.

Recent research from Kyung Hee University explores the potential role of healthy plant-based diets in reducing the risk of developing colorectal cancer, particularly in men, providing crucial insights into preventive dietary patterns.

Researchers at Kyung Hee University conducted a detailed study on 79,952 American men and 93,475 American women to investigate the associations between the consumption of healthy plant-based foods and the risk of colorectal cancer.

Healthy plant-based diets considered in this study include high intakes of whole grains, vegetables, and legumes, and low consumptions of unhealthy plant foods like refined grains, fruit juices, and added sugars.

Impact on Men

Among the male population studied, those who consumed the highest average daily amounts of healthy plant-based foods exhibited a 22% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer compared to those with the lowest intake.

This association varied with race and ethnicity, with Japanese American and white men showing significant reductions in risk, while no substantial associations were identified among African American, Latino, or Native Hawaiian men.

Absence of Strong Associations in Women

Interestingly, the research did not find any strong associations between the nutritional quality of plant-based diets and colorectal cancer risk in women, a variance that warrants further investigation.

Antioxidant Role

The study speculates that the antioxidants present in healthy plant foods may play a pivotal role in reducing colorectal cancer risk by counteracting chronic inflammation, a known precursor to cancer.


Dietary Recommendations

The findings of this study reinforce the significance of maintaining a healthy, plant-based diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and legumes to potentially lower colorectal cancer risk, especially in men.

Implementing such dietary habits can have a transformative impact on public health, curbing the prevalence of colorectal cancer.

Gender and Ethnic Variance

The differential associations noted between men and women and among various racial and ethnic groups highlight the need for personalized dietary guidelines and interventions that consider these variances. Understanding these distinctions can help in developing targeted preventive strategies to combat colorectal cancer more effectively.

Further Research

Given the discrepancy in associations between men and women and the variations across different ethnicities, there is a compelling need for additional research to explore these disparities and to unravel the underlying mechanisms driving these associations.


The study by Kyung Hee University underscores the potential benefits of consuming healthy plant-based foods in lowering the risk of colorectal cancer, particularly in men.

While emphasizing the crucial role of a balanced diet in cancer prevention, the study also opens avenues for exploring the gender and racial disparities observed in the associations, aiming for more inclusive and tailored preventive approaches in the future.

Further exploration in these areas can significantly contribute to the global fight against colorectal cancer, enabling the development of more informed and effective dietary guidelines and interventions.

Further Reading

For those interested in additional insights into cancer prevention and health, studies on the links between dairy products and cancer risk, the role of vitamin D supplements in reducing cancer deaths, the potential of coffee in combating prostate cancer, and the impact of certain medications on cancer growth are recommended.

Exploring these resources can provide a more comprehensive understanding of cancer and the various factors influencing its development and progression.

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