Plant-based diets tied to 22% lower bowel cancer risk in men: study

Researchers found some plant-based diets can lower the risk of bowel cancer by up to 22 percent in men, but there is no correlation in women.

The study, published Nov. 29 in BMC Medicine, followed more than 173,000 people, including almost 80,000 men, over an average of 19.2 years, during which there were 4,976 incidents of colorectal cancer. Participants were surveyed regarding their eating habits, such as how much of each food item they consumed and how often. 

Researchers found a decreased risk of colorectal cancer in men who regularly ate plant foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, tea and coffee. However, there was no correlation for women.

The correlation was stronger for Japanese American, Native Hawaiian and white men than for Black or Hispanic men.

"As men tend to have a higher risk of colorectal cancer than women, we propose that this could help explain why eating greater amounts of healthy plant-based foods was associated with reduced colorectal cancer risk in men but not women," lead researcher Jihye Kim, from Kyung Hee University in South Korea, told The Guardian.

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