Less red meat + more vegetables = less cancer

The World Health Organization has officially classified red meat and processed meat as carcinogens-that is, likely to cause cancer if eaten regularly and recommends

“reducing consumption of these products (red and processed meats) to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer” .

WHO

Benefits of eating vegetables

In another post I shared some related information about diet and the risk of colon cancer – what is the risk of cancer in people who do not eat meat, or who eat very little?

cows in a field
American beef is popular

NEJM Journal Watch (New England Journal of Medicine) published this report in 2015.

“Vegetarian Diets Are Associated with Lower Risk for Colorectal Cancer”

In this North American prospective study, researchers identified the eating habits of 78,000 adults  for 7 years,   A prospective study means the people studied are followed or observed over a continuing period of time, usually years.

Participants followed one of five diets:

  1. Vegans: No eggs, dairy, fish, or meat
  2. Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Eggs and dairy, but no fish or meat
  3. Pescovegetarians: Eggs, dairy, and limited fish, but no meat
  4. Semivegetarians: eggs, dairy, and limited fish plus meat (≤1 time per week)
  5. Nonvegetarians: eggs, dairy, and fish plus meat (>1 time per week)
plate of vegetables
a meat free appetizer-hummus, cucumbers, crackers, and pita bread

results of the study

In that 7 years, 490  people developed colon cancer.

After adjusting for certain personal and clinical factors, they reported that all four vegetarian groups had a 22% lower risk of colon cancer than non vegetarians.

Most impressive was a 43% lower risk for the pescovegetarians.

They concluded that any diet in which fruit and vegetable intake is emphasized has health benefits, including lower risk for colon cancer.  And that eating fish in particular may be even more beneficial in regard to colon cancer.

Vegetarian diets are popular for various reasons, some related to health, some related to concern for animals or the environment.

 Besides cancer prevention, diets high in fruits and vegetables help to prevent and control

  • diabetes,
  • heart disease,
  • obesity, and
  • high blood pressure.

.

other resources

What the American Cancer Society says about diet and cancer.

More detail about the World Health Organization’s report on the link between red meat and cancer.

green leafy vegetables
Watercress and other greens are among the most nutritious vegetables.

Learn about Powerhouse Vegetables

sharing the HEART of staying healthy by eating

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Red meat, vegetables and colon cancer; or is it the fish?

They concluded that any diet in which fruit and vegetable intake is emphasized has health benefits, including lower risk for CRC in certain circumstances.

How diet may effect cancer risk

High red meat consumption is associated with increased risk for colorectal cancer (CRC), and high fiber intake is associated with lowered risk; however, the effect of various types of meatless or vegetarian diets is uncertain.

a plate of food-fish fillet, green beans
Fish, vegetables, whole grains- healthy choices or not?

In a North American prospective study, researchers identified dietary patterns and CRC occurrence in nearly 78,000 adults over  7 years. A prospective study is one in which the study group is  observed over a continuing period of time, usually years.

During  that 7 years,  490 people developed cancer.  

The people in the study ate one of 5 diets based on eating questionnaires-

  1. Vegans: No eggs, dairy, fish, or meat
  2. Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Eggs and dairy, but no fish or meat
  3. Pescovegetarians: Eggs, dairy, and limited fish, but no meat
  4. Semivegetarians: eggs, dairy, and limited fish plus meat (≤1 time per week)
  5. Nonvegetarians: eggs, dairy, and fish plus meat (>1 time per week)

After considering certain personal and clinical factors, they reported that all 4 vegetarian groups had a 22% lower risk of colon cancer than non vegetarians.

Most impressive was a 43% lower risk for the pescovegetarians.

They concluded that any diet in which fruit and vegetable intake is emphasized has health benefits, including lower risk for CRC in certain circumstances.

And that eating fish in particular may be even more beneficial in regard to colon cancer.

So are vegetarian diets healthy?

Vegetarian diets are popular for various reasons, some related to health, some related to concern for animals or the environment. Most physicians and laypersons believe there are health benefits, but proof is elusive since

  • Documenting a person’s diet for any length of time relies on self-reports which may be inaccurate or even inflated.
  • Comparing  vegetarians to nonvegetarians requires people to voluntarily eat  meat
  • asking someone to deliberately eat a diet high in red meat would be unethical since  we believe it is not healthy (even without hard proof).

This study does not “prove” that red meat causes colon cancer or that eating vegetables prevents it. These diets seem to be associated with a higher or lower, respectively, risk of this cancer.

plate of vegetables
Healthy food choices don’t have to be difficult

Here’s some additional information about colon cancer from FamilyDoctor.org

via Colorectal Cancer | Overview.

exploring the HEART of healthy eating

Here is another post about eating-why your mother may have wanted you to eat more greens

How to use watercress and other greens.

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

Here are some affiliate links you may find helpful. Thanks for considering and using, which helps me fund this blog’s mission-to share the HEART of health.

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                              Dr. Aletha