Inflammatory Diet & Cancer

Rachael Rettner, Senior Writer of Live Science recently explored the higher risk of cancer when indulging in an inflammatory diet.  This type of diet may increase a person’s risk of colorectal cancer, according to a new study.

The men and women having a diet high in foods that are thought to increase levels of inflammation in the body were found more likely to develop colorectal cancer, compared with those who had a different type of diet.  Of the men who were on an inflammatory diet 44% were more likely to develop colorectal cancer and 22% of the women were also more likely.  They followed about two decades and compared them to those who had a different type of diet.

By reducing this inflammatory diet it may reduce also the colorectal cancer risk, as the researchers wrote in the study that was published in the journal JAMA Oncology.  Other studies have shown when people regularly take anti-inflammatory medications as aspirin, they have a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer compared with those who don’t.  What we eat does influence the levels of inflammation we have in our bodies, so eating those foods linked with higher levels of inflammation in the body could raise our risk of colorectal cancer.

Some foods considered pro-inflammatory are processed meats, refined grains and high-calorie beverages such as sodas.  Anti-inflammatory foods include tea, coffee, dark-yellow veggies and green leafy veggies.  It is a surprise that pizza was determined to be an anti-inflammatory food.  This might be because the tomato paste contains high levels of the compound lycopene, that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Information was gathered and analyzed on more than 121,000 men and women who were followed for about 25 years.  Over this time about 2,700 developed colorectal cancer.  Those answering questions and had anti-inflammatory diets had lower scores and lower indication of developing colorectal cancer.  In the end those men and women who had the highest inflammatory scores were 32% more likely to develop colorectal cancer over the study period compared with those who had the Lowest inflammatory scores.

Certain factors like age, family history of cancer, alcohol intake, physical activity, smoking and regular aspirin need to be taken into account for the risk of this cancer.  Even a person’s level of the hormone insulin should be taken into account.

There was even a study last year involving women who had an inflammatory diet as teenagers who were declared at greater risk of breast cancer as adults, compared with those who had anti-inflammatory diets as teens.

Dr Fredda Branyon