Physicians are studying the effects of diet on colon cancer
Certain foods can cause inflammation in the human body. Researchers have now found that such inflammation appears to be responsible for the increased risk of colorectal cancer.
The scientists from the internationally renowned Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston found in their investigation that eating certain foods appears to increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "JAMA Oncology".
Healthy eating promotes a cancer-free colon
A lot has been written and discussed about the harmful effects of excessive consumption of red meat, white bread and sugary drinks. Expert data from two major health studies now suggest that these foods increase the likelihood of inflammation in the body. This in turn leads to an increased likelihood of developing colon cancer. Overall, a healthy diet appears to promote a cancer-free colon, the researchers explain.
Previous studies had already linked certain dietary factors to colorectal cancer, but there was no clear explanation for the cause of the association.
Improper diet can cause a chronic inflammatory condition in the body
Doctors suspected that nutrition-induced inflammation could be at least one way in which diet affects the risk of colon cancer. "There are multiple stimulators of chronic inflammation, and nutrition is one of those factors that can constantly stimulate the body to become chronically inflammatory," said Fred Tabung, author of Harvard T.H. Chan School in a press release.
Scientists analyzed the data from more than 121,000 subjects
To test this possible connection, the researchers collected data from more than 121,000 people from two studies, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses Health Study. In these examinations, the subjects were medically monitored for 26 years in order to monitor possible effects of diet on their health.
The participants filled out questionnaires every four years. These questionnaires helped the researchers determine a score for each person.
Certain foods increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer by 32 percent
There were a total of 2,699 cases of colorectal cancer that occurred during the follow-up phase. The researchers compared the foods these subjects consumed to those without colon cancer. When eating inflammatory foods, participants were 32 percent more likely to develop colon cancer compared to those with the lowest scores for inflammation scores, the researchers report. Chronic inflammation has been linked to various diseases, including cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
You should avoid these foods
Processed meat, red meat, organ meat, refined flour and sugary drinks were among the foods most associated with inflammation, which promote cancer, the doctors explain. On the other hand, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, coffee and fruit juice, for example, appeared to reduce inflammation. The same was true when alcohol users refrained from alcohol.
The impact of diet on cancer risk could be even higher
It is important to focus on the overall diet and not on the specific foods that are included in this diet, experts say. The influence of nutrition is likely to be even greater than the current results, as certain spices and preparation methods were not taken into account, which can also have a strong impact on inflammation. (as)