Colon cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But maybe it doesn't have to be. Switching opting for a more plant-based diet can lower your risk for colorectal cancers by 16 to 43 percent, according to research from Loma Linda University in California.
Going to a totally plant-based diet resulted in a 16 percent risk reduction, a vegetarian diet allowing eggs and milk products resulted in an 18 percent risk reduction, and a vegetarian diet allowing fish (otherwise known as a pescatarian diet) had a 43 percent risk reduction. The common factor in all these diets: ditching the meat. (In fact, even limiting meat consumption to just once a week showed a more modest 8 percent reduction.)
"Colorectal cancer is the type of cancer that has perhaps most traditionally been linked to diet," says Tomas Campbell, MD, author of The Campbell Plan. "Not all recent studies have shown vegetarian patterns as being protective, and part of the reason may be what people are eating instead of meat. It may be important to not only cut down on animal foods, but also to increase fiber-containing foods, in other words whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables; basically unrefined plants."
Another aspect of this study to consider is the omega-3s found in fish, but you can get these healthy nutrients without sacrificing a plant-based lifestyle. "Fish is often touted for containing omega-3 fats, but you can also find omega-3 fats in some plants, particularly chia seeds and ground flaxseed," Dr. Campbell points out. "Walnuts also contain omega-3s."
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