Study finds eating organic could reduce cancer risks

A farm stand array of fall fruits and vegetables

Study finds eating organic could reduce cancer risks

A population-based study of almost 69,000 French adults shows a significant reduction in the risk of cancer among people who say they eat a lot of spray-free food. According to a team of french scientists who looked at the diets of almost 68,000 people for almost five years. They ate more fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes, and less processed meat, other meat, poultry and milk - the kinds of dietary patterns the Cancer Council recommends to reduce the risk of disease.

By the follow-up, 1,340 cancers had developed, including the following, which were the most prevalent: 459 breast cancers, 180 prostate cancers, 135 skin cancers, 99 colorectal cancers, 47 non-Hodgkin lymphomas, and 15 other lymphomas.

Dr. Shepard points out that people who eat organic foods al so have the tendency to eat healthier diets and exercise more, which are also traits that have been associated with reduced cancer risk. They noted that people who ate more organic foods were 25 percent less likely to get cancers.

Guinter added that "if people are interested in changing their diets or buying foods that are known to help prevent their cancer risk, those would certainly be avenues to take rather than simply buying organic".

Should the results be confirmed, organic food may become a part of the general cancer prevention guidelines, as they could significantly lower the rate of new cancer cases. The researchers, from the Sorbonne Paris Cite, speculated that less exposure to these pesticide residues may explain why eating organic is linked to a lower cancer risk.

Investigators also carried out a sensitivity analysis by including the main determinants of pesticide exposure - namely vegetable products - in the organic food score.

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So a team from Inserm, the French equivalent of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, went looking for data.

Eating organic foods does have tangible benefits according to a recently published study. "Even though the authors had access to information of why people are choosing not to eat organic foods, they consider all non-consumers of organic foods the same".

"Asking about consumption of organic foods. assesses a behaviour but not the causes of the behaviour", said Dr Jorge Chavarro, co-author of an accompanying editorial and a researcher at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

"In general, we know that healthier diets are better for you when it comes to cancer risk, he said". Bean sprouts and soy are also good anti-cancer food.

What's "urgently" needed is a more detailed study that would address some of the problems in the French report, according to the commentary.

Exposure to pesticides in fruits and vegetables are not only the possible culprits for cancer.

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