Eating dairy products may cut bowel cancer risk: Fruits, veggies help too

Eating dairy products was associated with 13 per cent to 19 per cent lower risk of the disease. Fibre intake was associated with a 22 per cent-43 per cent lower risk. @Shutterstock

A new research says that having more dairy products can significantly reduce your risk of bowel cancer. Know what to eat and what to avoid.

Eating dairy products may reduce bowel cancer risk, but there's no evidence that garlic or onions, fish, tea or coffee protect against the disease, says a new study. For the findings, published in the journal Gut, the research team from McGill University in Canada, trawled relevant published systematic reviews and meta-analyses of clinical trials and observational studies assessing the impact of dietary and medicinal factors on bowel cancer risk. The medicinal factors included aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as paracetamol and statins. The dietary factors included: vitamins or supplements (magnesium, calcium, folic acid, vitamin A, B, C, E, D, -carotene and coffee, tea, fish and omega 3 fatty acids, dairy products, fibre, fruit and vegetables, meat and alcohol

Medicines that reduce the risk of bowel cancer

The results showed that aspirin is likely protective against bowel cancer, lowering the risk by between 14 per cent and 29 per cent at doses as low as 75 mg/day, with a dose-response effect reported up to 325 mg/day. NSAID use for up to 5 years was associated with a significant (26 per cent to 43 per cent) fall in the incidence of bowel cancer. Magnesium intake of at least 255 mg/day was associated with a 23 per cent lower risk compared with the lowest intake, and high intake of folic acid was associated with a 12-15 per cent per cent lower risk.

Fruits and veggies can bring down risk by 52 per cent

Similarly, eating dairy products was associated with 13 per cent to 19 per cent lower risk of the disease. Fibre intake was associated with a 22 per cent-43 per cent lower risk. So, you need to increase your intake of whole wheat and other whole foods. Fruits and vegetable intake was also associated with up to a 52 per cent lower risk. So, load up on seasonal fruits and veggies. Try to go for assorted colours as it will be more beneficial. Fruits are also a rich source of fibre and many essential nutrients. Have a lot of leafy greens as this can keep your digestive system healthy and bring down your risk of bowel cancer significantly.

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Certain nutrients may not offer any protection

But there was no evidence that vitamins E, C, or multivitamins were protective. Similarly, there was no evidence that -carotene or selenium helped stave off the disease. Similarly, although meta-analyses of observational studies suggest that statins may lower cancer risk, no positive effect was noted in meta-analyses of clinical trial data.

Avoid meat, alcohol to prevent bowel cancer

Most of the available meta-analyses of observational studies reported an increased risk of between 12 per cent and 21 per cent for meat, particularly red and processed meat. So, for protein, switch to mean meat like chicken and fish instead. Alcohol is also associated with a significantly increased risk. The higher the intake, the greater the risk. The researchers caution that the level of evidence is low or very low in most cases, mainly due to wide differences in study design, endpoints, numbers of participants, etc.

(With inputs from IANS)

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