Cancer kills millions of people every year despite the billions raised, spent and invested in cancer research. The stubborn statistics show no sign of changing in the future. However, green shoots have emerged in the diet domain.
Increasingly, evidence suggests that you can modify your cancer risk, and some dietary components may even have preventive potential.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Shireen Kassam, consultant haematologist and certified doctor of lifestyle medicine, extolled the virtues of a plant-based approach.
Dr. Kassam cited the World Cancer Research Fund’s guidelines for cancer prevention, which “clearly state that an optimal diet for cancer prevention is based on roughly equal proportions of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, while minimizing processed and red and red foods.” processed meats”.
He attributed the preventive potential of plant foods to their “fiber and a variety of vitamins, minerals and other plant chemicals that work synergistically in the body and this way of eating has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.”
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“Other research finds that every 10 grams of fiber a day could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 10 percent,” the health agency reports.
The ills of eating red and processed meat further strengthen the association.
For example, many studies have shown that eating a lot of red and processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer.
A landmark study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, investigated whether people who eat an average of 76 grams of red and processed meat a day (about three slices of ham) still have an increased risk of bowel cancer.
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The study analyzed data from half a million UK adults over almost seven years and found that moderate consumers of red and processed meat (those eating 79g a day on average) had 32 per cent more bowel cancer risk compared to people who ate less than 11 g of red. and processed meat daily.
To put that into context, for every 10,000 people in the study who ate less than 11 grams of red and processed meat a day, 45 were diagnosed with bowel cancer.
Eating 79 grams of red and processed meat a day led to 14 extra cases of bowel cancer per 10,000 people.
However, more evidence is needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn about the benefits of plant-based diets.
Worldwide Cancer Research says: “Currently, there is not enough evidence to say definitively that a vegetarian or vegan diet reduces the risk of dying from cancer.”
There is some evidence that abstaining from meat might help prevent certain types of cancer from developing in the first place, “although several meta-analyses on this effect have not shown a clear answer to this question and more research is needed.” says the health body.
“Other studies have found that people who eat a vegetarian or vegan diet may be less likely to have other health risks, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, which are involved in many health conditions.”
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