Cancer : Eat Your Veggies to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

A variety of fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet and essential for maintaining overall wellness, and studies show that specific fruits and veggies—like apples, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage—can help lower the risk of getting colorectal cancer.

In one study from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, study authors analyzed more than 800 people with colorectal cancer and 939 people who had no history of the disease. The researchers found that the risk of cancer in the proximal colon (the left side of the colon and the appendix) was reduced in people who ate cruciferous veggies including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. The cancer risk was not affected by eating other fruits or vegetables.

For cancer of the distal colon (the right side of the colon and large intestine), all fruits and veggies significantly decreased the risk of cancer. Dark yellow and orange veggies like squash, pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes and apples were particularly beneficial.

"Future studies might consider taking into account the location of the tumor when examining the relation between fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of colorectal cancer," the researchers concluded.

This study is part of the growing body of evidence supporting a plant-based diet for lowering the risk of colorectal cancer, whereas a diet high in refined grains, sugar, and meat appears to increase the risk.

© 2014 Kristy Erickson


"Cruciferous Vegetables and Risk of Colorectal Neoplasms"

"Dietary Patterns and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer"

"Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and the Risk of Proximal Colon, Distal Colon, and Rectal Cancers in a Case-Control Study in Western Australia"

"Fruits and Vegetables Reduce Risks of Specific Types of Colorectal Cancers, Study Finds"