Vegetarians – Lower Levels Of Cancer!

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For a long time studies have indicated that vegetarians have overall lower rates of cancer.

Government and other authoritative health organizations have conducted extensive research on the benefits of plant-based diets in cancer prevention. Key findings from these studies highlight how plant-based diets contribute to reducing the risk of various cancers through mechanisms like reducing inflammation, enhancing the immune system, and preventing obesity. Here are some key findings:

  1. Cancer Risk Reduction: Research indicates that nearly 25% of new cancer cases could be prevented through better nutrition, particularly diets high in plant-based foods. These diets are rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, which are associated with lower cancer risks. Vegans and vegetarians tend to have the lowest cancer rates compared to those who consume animal products (1) (2).
  2. Phytochemicals and Antioxidants: Plant-based diets are abundant in phytochemicals, compounds that protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation, processes that are linked to cancer development. For instance, antioxidants found in various plant foods neutralize oxidative stress, a contributor to cancer cell formation (3).
  3. Fiber Intake: High fiber intake from plant-based foods is linked to a reduced risk of colorectal and breast cancers. Studies have shown that each additional 10 grams of daily fiber can lower colorectal cancer risk by 10%, and women with high fiber diets were 25% less likely to develop breast cancer later in life (4).
  4. Inflammation and Hormone Regulation: Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugars, and processed foods can trigger chronic inflammation and elevate insulin-like growth factors, which promote cell proliferation and increase cancer risk. Conversely, plant-based diets help mitigate these risks by maintaining healthy levels of blood lipids, glucose, and insulin (5).
  5. National Institutes of Health (NIH): The NIH acknowledges that plant-based diets, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, are associated with a lower risk of several types of cancer. These diets provide essential nutrients and phytochemicals that have protective effects against cancer. Specifically, high intake of dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants found in plant foods helps in reducing cancer risk by regulating the body’s inflammation levels and oxidative stress (6) (7).
  6. American Cancer Society (ACS): The ACS guidelines emphasize that a healthy diet rich in plant foods can significantly lower cancer risk. They recommend a diet that includes a variety of vegetables (especially dark green, red, and orange vegetables), fiber-rich legumes, fruits, and whole grains. The ACS points out that at least 18% of all cancers and about 16% of cancer deaths in the U.S. are related to excess body weight, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition. Thus, maintaining a healthy weight through a plant-based diet is crucial for cancer prevention (8).
  7. American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR): The AICR promotes the inclusion of plant-based foods in the diet to lower cancer risk. Their research indicates that no single food can protect against cancer alone, but a diet high in a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes can reduce the risk of many cancers. These foods are packed with fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals that work together to protect cells from damage that can lead to cancer. The AICR also advises limiting the intake of red and processed meats, which are associated with higher cancer risk (9).
  8. World Health Organization (WHO): The WHO supports dietary guidelines that advocate for increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while reducing red and processed meat intake to lower cancer risk. These recommendations are part of broader efforts to prevent chronic diseases, including cancer, through diet and lifestyle modifications (10).
  9. Plant-based nutrition has been shown to protect against the 15 leading causes of death in the world, including many cancers, and may offer benefits as a disease modifying tool to improve the management and treatment of these conditions. Results on the effects of plant-based nutrition on breast, prostate, colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers have been the most extensively studied, and thus have the most published supporting evidence thus far. Whole foods plant-based diets have shown to significantly protect against these cancers, as well as additional cancers and other chronic disease states. Although less researched than other cancers, some evidence suggests that a plant-based diet may reduce lung cancer risk. Antioxidants and phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables help neutralize carcinogens from sources such as tobacco smoke. Reducing meat intake, which is often associated with higher lung cancer risk due to carcinogens like nitrosamines, also contributes to this protective effect. (11)

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