Want to avoid risk of bowel cancer? Cut processed red meat, alcohol from your diet

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common types of cancers.

Are you a meat lover? We have some important news for you. According to a new study, a group of researchers have found strong evidence of links between lifestyle and colorectal cancer risk. Physical activity and whole grains lowers risk of this cancer; too much alcohol and red meat, processed meats and obesity increase the risk.

Eating whole grains daily, such as brown rice or whole-wheat bread, reduces colorectal cancer risk, with the more you eat the lower the risk and there was strong evidence that physical activity protects against colon cancer. Edward L Giovannucci, MD, ScD, lead author of the report and a professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, 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.”

The new report evaluated the scientific research worldwide on how diet, weight and physical activity affect colorectal cancer risk. The report analysed 99 studies, including data on 29 million people, of whom over a quarter of a million were diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Consuming more than 30gm of alcohol daily increases risk of colorectal cancer. (Shutterstock)

Other factors found to increase colorectal cancer include:

– 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.

The report concluded that eating approximately three servings (90 grams) of whole grains daily reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by 17%. It adds to previous evidence showing that foods containing fiber decreases the risk of this cancer. People who are more physically active have a lower risk of colon cancer compared to those who do very little physical activity.

AICR estimates that 47% of US colorectal cancer cases could be prevented each year through healthy lifestyle changes. Giovannucci noted, “Many of the ways to help prevent colorectal cancer are important for overall health.” The study was done by American Institute for Cancer Research.




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