Researchers have discovered that eating whole grains daily, such as brown rice or whole-wheat bread, reduces colorectal cancer risk.
Also known as bowel and colon cancer, colorectal is the development of cancer from the colon or rectum.
The new findings on colorectal cancer were published in a report by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).
The report evaluated scientific research worldwide on how diet, weight, and physical activity affect colorectal cancer risk.
99 studies were analysed to conduct the report, including data on 29 million people, of whom over a quarter of a million were diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Foods that were found to increase risk of cancer include hot dogs, bacon, eating high amounts of red meat (above 500 grams cooked weight a week), such as beef or pork; being overweight or obese; consuming two or more daily alcoholic drinks (30 grams of alcohol), such as wine or beer and other processed meats consumed regularly.
However, an increased amount of consumption of whole grains would lower the chances of the risk by 17 percent simply by eating three servings (90 grams) a day, the report said.
Edward Giovannucci, lead author of the research, said: “Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers, yet this report demonstrates there is a lot people can do to dramatically lower their risk. The findings from this comprehensive report are robust and clear: Diet and lifestyle have a major role in colorectal cancer.
“Many of the ways to help prevent colorectal cancer are important for overall health. Factors such as maintaining a lean body weight, proper exercise, limiting red and processed meat and eating more whole grains and fiber would lower risk substantially. Moreover, limiting alcohol to at most two drinks per day and avoidance or cessation of smoking also lower risk.”
Physical activity has also been found to protect against colon cancer.
Alice Bender, director of Nutrition Programs, said: “Replacing some of your refined grains with whole grains and eating mostly plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables and beans, will give you a diet packed with cancer-protective compounds and help you manage your weight, which is so important to lower risk.
“When it comes to cancer there are no guarantees, but it’s clear now there are choices you can make and steps you can take to lower your risk of colorectal and other cancers.”
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