Plants protect: whole fruit and fresh vegetables fight cancer | Viva!

Plants protect: whole fruit and fresh vegetables fight cancer

It has been known for decades that a wholegrain, vegan diet containing lots of fruit and vegetables (and therefore fibre) helps protect us from colorectal cancer. Two large-scale studies published in the Lancet examined the relationship between diet and colorectal cancer and both confirmed that as dietary fibre intake increases, the risk of colorectal cancer decreases. Therefore, vegetables fight cancer! The first study concluded that dietary fibre, particularly from grains such as wholemeal bread, wholegrain pastas, porridge and other oat cereals, muesli, brown rice and fruits, was associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer (Peters et al, 2003). In the second study – and this one was gigantic – researchers from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) looked at the association between dietary fibre intake and the incidence of colorectal cancer in 519,978 individuals aged between 25 and 70 years-old, recruited from 10 different European countries. Again, people with the highest fibre intake (35 grams per day) had a 40 per cent lower risk of colorectal cancer compared to those with the lowest intake (15 grams per day). EPIC continues to study colorectal cancer and the latest findings amongst the almost half a million participants (Murphy et al, 2012) confirmed again that dietary fibre shields us against colorectal cancer.

The evidence that processed meat (smoked meat, ham, bacon, sausages, pâté and tinned meat) is a cause of bowel cancer is so strong that the World Cancer Research Fund recommends people should avoid eating it altogether. They also state that to help avoid cancer generally: “Eat mostly foods of plant origin.”
Source: www.dietandcancerreport.org/ cancer_prevention_ recommendations/ recommendation_plant_foods.php

In the UK, most people do not eat enough fibre – the average intake is 14g/day when the NHS recommends a minimum of 18g/day. The well-respected Washingtonbased group, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, recommend 40g/day. You don’t need to measure the amount of fibre you’re getting, just follow the chart on page 41 and let your vegetables fight cancer. Eat a variety of healthy wholefoods and you won’t go wrong. There are many other chronic diseases linked to dairy consumption and here are a few to illustrate how our diet can affect how we feel. (For the full shooting match, read the excellent White Lies report at www.whitelies.org.uk/materials)