The numbers, quite frankly, are grim: Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in America and the fourth leading cause of cancer death globally. And even if the colon cancer is not fatal, it can lead to radiation or chemotherapy as well as surgical removal of the colon and the placement of a colostomy bag, which can seriously impact the quality of life for these cancer survivors.
Intriguing new research
This elegantly done study was a collaborative effort between researchers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and those in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The researchers chose 20 African-American men and women in Pittsburgh and 20 men and women of African descent living in KwaZulu-Natal to participate in this study that looked at the link between diet and colon cancer risk.
Before this study began, researchers performed an analysis of the gut microbes in each participant. Every patient also underwent a colonoscopy, or visual study of the colon, during which it was discovered that nine out of the 20 Americans had colon polyps (which can become cancerous) while 0 out of the 20 South Africans had the same problem.
How the research was done
In this two-week study, the group of 20 African Americans ate a traditionally South African diet. Such a diet consists largely of plant-based foods including a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. The 20 South Africans ate a diet that mimicked that of the West, with approximately 2-3 times more meat and fat than their native diet usually included.
The African Americans on the South African diet showed better health in their intestinal flora as well as reduced inflammation and other signs of damage to the colon. Both of these are considered to be risk factors for colon cancer.
In short, this study is part of a large (and growing) body of evidence to show that a diet which is rich in plant-based foods helps to reduce the risk of colon cancer, while a diet that is high in fats and meat-based protein increases the chances that this cancer will develop. It is yet another good reason for people to consider cutting back on red meat and high fat foods and increasing their dietary intake of fruits, vegetables and other plant-based foods.
Give it a try and you will be well- pleased with the result. Check out this short video about plant based foods and 3 tips for people new to plant-based diets
3 tips for people new to plant-based diets
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