Diet rich in vegetables, whole grains and beans ‘cuts bowel cancer risk’

Eating more vegetables can help reduce bowel cancer risk in menEating more vegetables can help reduce bowel cancer risk in men
Eating more vegetables can help reduce bowel cancer risk in men
A diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils can cut the risk of bowel cancer in men by more than a fifth, research suggests.

A new study on 79,952 men in the US found that those who ate largest amounts of healthy plant-based foods had a 22 per cent lower risk of bowel cancer compared to those who ate the least.

However, the researchers found no such link for women, of whom 93,475 were included in the study.

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The team suggested that the link is clearer for men, who have an overall higher risk of bowel cancer.

For the research, published in BMC Medicine, people were asked how often they ate certain foods and drink from a list of more than 180 items.

The participants were also asked about portion size.

People could tick that they consumed each food item “never or hardly ever” right up to “two or more times a day”.

For drinks, the responses ranged from “never or hardly ever” to “four or more times a day”.

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The food groups were classed as healthy plant foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, legumes such as lentils and chickpeas, tea and coffee), less healthy plant foods (refined grains, fruit juices, potatoes, added sugars), and animal foods (animal fat, dairy, eggs, fish or seafood, meat).

Researcher Jihye Kim, from Kyung Hee University, South Korea, said: “We speculate that the antioxidants found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains could contribute to lowering colorectal cancer risk by suppressing chronic inflammation, which can lead to cancer.

Beth Vincent, Cancer Research UK, said: “This American study adds to lots of existing evidence on the benefits of eating a balanced diet high in fruit, vegetables and fibre for both men and women."