A new study shows that switching to a fish and vegetable-based diet can lower the risk of colorectal cancer. The findings were published in the online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.
Colorectal cancer is the second most frequent deadly cancer in the United States. Doctors are doing their best to detect precancerous lesions or early stage cancerous formations through colonoscopy.
As with any disease, it is better to prevent than treat. This is where a healthy diet can make a difference. Dr. Michael Orlich, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Loma Linda University in California and the study’s lead author explains that eating healthy “is a potentially important approach to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.”
For this study, Orlich and his team analyzed data from about 77,700 men and women who signed up for the Adventist Health Study 2. Almost half of participants declared they were non-vegetarians, meaning they ate meat at least once a week.
The other half was divided into four categories: semi-vegetarians who ate meat less than once a week; pesco-vegetarians who ate meat but only that coming from fish meat seafood; lacto-ovo vegetarians who did not consume meat but did eat eggs and/or dairy products and vegans who avoided all products of animal origin.
The patients were monitored for seven years. The team identified 110 participants with a rectal cancer diagnosis and 380 cases of colon cancer.
Scientists analyzed data from the vegetarian group and came to the conclusion that it “had on average a 22 percent reduction in the risk of developing colorectal cancer” in comparison to the non-vegetarian group. In regards to the rate of colon respectively rectal cancer amongst vegetarian participants scientists observed the former type had a 19 percent lower risk while the latter had a 29 percent lower calculated risk. In pesco-vegetarians, the risk of colorectal cancers was 43 percent lower in comparison to non-vegetarians.
According to Orlich, vegetarian participants not only lowered or even completely eliminated meat consumption but also ate ”less sweets, snack foods, refined grains and caloric beverages”.
Dr. Alfred Neugut epidemiology professor at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City considers there is not enough data in regards to this subject, pointing out that scientists cannot say if the cause is the vegetables that probably contain substances with cancer reducing proprieties or rather the behaviors associated with vegetarian lifestyle such as not smoking and exercising.
Image Source: Press TV