Study Finds DASH Diet Lowers Cancer Risk
People who regularly eat a DASH diet may lower their risk of colorectal cancer by as much as 20%
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or "DASH" diet is well-known for its blood pressure-lowering effects, and now research suggests this healthy eating pattern may also help prevent cancer. A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that people who regularly eat a DASH diet may lower their risk of colorectal cancer by as much as 20%.
Eating your way to better health
Prior studies have suggested that the Mediterranean diet may help lower the risk of death from colorectal cancer, but few have looked at whether the DASH diet might have similar effects. Both diets are plant-based and emphasize eating an abundance of fruits and veggies, limiting red meat, and eating whole grains and nuts.
In this large study, researchers assessed the dietary information of 87,256 women and 45,490 men who did not have cancer and followed them for up to 26 years. Results showed that men and women who most closely followed a DASH diet had a 20% lower risk of colorectal cancer compared with people who followed it the least.
There was no statistically significant association between eating the Mediterranean diet and lowering the risk of colorectal cancer but study authors did discover that among components that differ between the DASH and Mediterranean diet, low-fat dairy products, which are part of the DASH diet, were associated with a reduced colorectal cancer risk.
"Although the DASH diet was originally designed for blood pressure reduction, several characteristics, such as higher intakes of whole grain and lower intakes of red and processed meat, are similar to the Mediterranean diet and may suggest a potential for colorectal cancer risk reduction," said Teresa T. Fung, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, and her colleagues.
More cancer prevention tips
The good news is that there are a number of actions people can take to reduce their risk of colorectal cancer. Read on!
(Am J Clin Nutr 2010;92:1429-35.)
Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognized organizations, websites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker.