A new study presented at the ESMO 19th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer suggests that Mediterranean diet that is rich in fish and fruit helps reduce risk of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) develops from intestinal polyps and has been linked to a low-fibre diet heavy on red meat, alcohol and high-calorie foods, scientists who presented the study explain. Previous studies have already established an association between Mediterranean diet and lower rates of colorectal cancer; however, there has been no clarity on what elements in the diet are the most beneficial.
Using dietary questionnaires from 808 people who were undergoing screening or diagnostic colonoscopies, the research team was able to dig down to look at the fine details of their daily meals. The investigators found that compared to subjects with clear colonoscopies, those who had advanced polyps reported fewer components of the Mediterranean diet (a mean of 1.9 versus 4.5 components). Yet even consumption of two to three components of the diet, compared to none, was associated with half the odds of advanced polyps.
Odds were reduced in a dose response manner with additional MD components – meaning that the more MD components people adhered, the lower their odds of having advanced colorectal polyps.
After adjusting to account for other CRC risk factors, including other dietary components, the researchers narrowed in on high fish and fruit and low soft drinks as the best combo for reduced odds of advanced colorectal polyps. Researchers will now see whether the MD is linked to lower risk of CRC in higher risk groups.
“We found that each one of these three choices was associated with a little more than 30% reduced odds of a person having an advanced, pre-cancerous colorectal lesion, compared to people who did not eat any of the MD components. Among people who made all three healthy choices the benefit was compounded to almost 86% reduced odds,” said Naomi Fliss Isakov, PhD fromTel-Aviv Medical Center, in Tel Aviv, Israel.