Cancer Prevention: Six Dietary Guidelines
Members of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, along with a team of medical experts published a report titled “Applying the Precautionary Principle to Nutrition and Cancer” in the June 30 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. The esteemed team of researchers carefully analyzed a 2007 report of the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research to determine recommendations for dietary habits that are associated with improved health and decreased cancer risk.
The report emphasizes six key findings which focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetable, grain, and legumes while avoiding alcohol, red and processed meats, dairy products, and carcinogens in well-cooked meats.
- Milk and Dairy consumption increases risk of prostate cancer.
- Alcohol consumption may increase risk of mouth, esophagus, colon, rectum, breast, larynx, and pharynx cancers.
- Avoiding red and processed meats leads to a reduced risk of colon and rectum cancer.
- Meat Cooked at high temperatures is a carcinogen.
- Consuming soy products reduces risk of breast cancer.
- A plant based diet (fruits and vegetables) reduces the risk of several forms of cancer.
Although milk has become a staple in most American households, findings suggest drinking two glasses of milk each day can increase the risk of prostate cancer by up to 60 percent. Many people consume milk as a source of calcium. However green leafy vegetable, legumes and other calcium-fortified foods provide a healthier alternative. Interestingly, the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Lactose intolerance in adulthood is most prevalent in people of East Asian descent, affecting more than 90 percent of adults in some of these communities. These findings suggest added health benefits for the large percent of the population likely unaware of the health issues their milk consumption may be causing.
Just one alcoholic beverage a week can increase risk of mouth, pharynx, and larynx cancers by 21 percent. The evidence suggests that the type of alcohol does not affect risk; however the degree of risk varies with each type of cancer.
Meat consumption is typically associated with protein, iron, and zinc. However, the negative effect goes beyond cancer risk and includes diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Experts suggest consuming plant-based diets as a source of nutrients usually obtained through meat.
Specifically, grilled, fried, and broiled meats increase risk of colon and rectum cancer, with a weaker association with breast, prostate, kidney, and pancreas cancer. In addition to lessening cancer risk, avoiding consumption of these products can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and lead to overall health improvement.
Notably, a study of 3088 breast cancer survivors showed a decrease in mortality, with a separate study estimating a 60% reduction in recurrence.
The overall theme of the report suggests that such a diet is most efficient in sustaining a healthy lifestyle. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, are noted for their aid in reducing colorectal and breast cancers. Tomato products reduce risk of gastric cancer by 27 percent. Beyond cancer prevention, fruits and vegetables are linked to overall improvement in health and reduced risk of stroke, hypertension, and diabetes among other conditions. Particularly, green leafy vegetables have the greatest positive effect. Due to the absence of disadvantages to consuming a plant-based diet, the study suggests it may be the best diet to adopt for overall improved health.
Cancer Prevention: Six Dietary Guidelines
“The key recommendation is to build meals around fruits, vegetables, and legumes,” says study author Neal Barnard, M.D., “plant-based foods provide an antioxidant boost and help promote a healthy weight, reducing the risk for all types of cancer in the long run.”
Along with these dietary recommendations, experts agree that an active lifestyle and avoidance of carcinogens also plays an integral role in cancer prevention.
- PCRM|Six Dietary Guidelines to prevent Cancer
- Time Magazine|Six Dietary Guidelines for preventing Cancer
- NY Daily News|Six Dietary Guidelines to prevent Cancer
- Food Consumer|High Cholesterol increases Risks of Breast Cancer
- NOLA.com|Red meat possibly linked to breast cancer
- PCRM|Kidney Patients: If You’re Eating “Southern” Food, Make It Vegan.
- BMJ|Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies