Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer by Eatingf Fruits and Vegetables

November 12, 2012

Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer by Eatingf Fruits and Vegetables

According to the National Cancer Institute, over 101,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer in America alone. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in the United States and is often fatal. But a promising study by the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research discovered that the risks of people getting three different types of colorectal cancers went down depending on what fruits and vegetables they ate. This is the first large-scale study to look at how diet can affect specific types of CRCs rather than CRCs as a whole. CRCs get their names due to their locations in the colon. “Fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of proximal colon, distal colon and rectal cancers in a case-control study in Western Australia” was published in the October, 2011 issue of “Journal of the American Dietetic Association.” If you let your subscription lapse, don’t worry. The study is summarized below. Study Specifics The multi-year Western Australian study looked at the diets of 1939 volunteers, 918 of which were diagnosed with one or more types of colon cancer. 1021 volunteers without any CRC acted as controls. Study volunteers filled out extensive questionnaires about their health history, food choices and how much money they made. People at the poverty level often cannot afford fresh fruits and vegetables. Australian medical researchers than carefully sifted through the mountains of questionnaires, looking for any correlations between diet and CRC. They also searched to see if specific fruits or vegetables made any difference in preventing CRC. People that ate fresh fruit and vegetables consistently were not diagnosed with certain types of CRCs.

Study Findings

Eating Brassica vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts) lowered a person’s risk of developing proximinal CRC and distal colon cancer. But if you do not like these vegetables, eating any type of fresh fruit and vegetables can decrease your chance of getting distal CRC. Eating apples and dark yellow vegetables like squash or peppers reduced the risk of distal CRC.

But the general public is cautioned against drinking fruit juices, which are often mixed with water, sugars and preservatives. Drinking a lot of fruit juice seemed to increase a person’s chance of developing rectal cancer. Just why this happens is unknown.

Study Conclusions

The study’s authors concluded that people who want to prevent any type of CRC would do best getting they nutrients they need from food rather than from nutritional supplemental capsules or powders. It is still unclear which exact nutrients in fruits and vegetables play a role in lowering the risk for cancers, including three types of colon cancers — proximal colon cancer, distal colon cancer and rectal cancer. The rectum is part of the colon, which is why it was included as a CRC.

The study’s lead author, Professor Lin Fritschi, PhD, noted that it is still unclear just how specific fruits and vegetables help or hinder each area of the colon. Professor Fritschi hopes that further studies will concentrate on clearing up this issue.


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