Plant-based diet can cut bowel cancer risk in men by 22%, new study says
Men have a lower risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) when they consume more plant-based meals that are high in good nutrients and low in less nutritious ones.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common malignancy and the fourth most common cause of cancer death worldwide. Existing evidence indicates that diet is an important modifiable risk factor for CRC. For example, red and processed meats are associated with a higher risk, whereas foods rich in fiber are associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer, suggesting that plant-based diets play a role in the prevention of such cancer.
A group of researchers at the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology at Kyung Hee University, in South Korea, used the data from a total of 79,952 men and 93,475 women from MEC, a population-based, prospective cohort study designed to investigate lifestyle and genetic factors related to cancer and other chronic diseases, to evaluate the associations between plant-based diets and risk of colorectal cancer.
The results from this large multiethnic population sample group, show that greater adherence to an overall and healthy plant-based diet was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, but only in men. Also, among men, an unhealthy plant-based diet showed a trend of increased risk for tumors of the rectum, but not the right or left colon. These findings emphasize the potential importance of the quality of plant foods in the prevention of colorectal cancer and suggest that the benefits from plant-based diets may vary by sex, race, and ethnicity.
As the authors suggest, their findings support that improving the quality of plant foods and reducing animal food consumption can help prevent colorectal cancer.