Everyone has heard that consuming a plant-based diet is heart healthy. A low alcohol intake is known to promote longevity, too. But did you know that taking part in both together can significantly decrease your risk of obesity-related cancers? That’s according to a New York University study, published in the journal Cancer Causes & Control. The study’s lead author was Nour Makarem a nutrition doctoral student at NYU Steinhardt. She said, “Our research aims to clarify associations between diet and physical activity in relation to cancer.” Researchers said they hoped their study helped people choose a healthier lifestyle. An overabundance of fat causes one third of all cancers, the study found. Yet, obesity is considered to be a preventable disease. Cancers caused by obesity include cancer of the bone, blood, urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive organs, thyroid and spleen. Weight management, diet and physical activity were all part of the guidelines put out by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, revised in 2007.
Researchers wanted to look at real cases where the guidelines proved cancer likelihood was far less. They studied the data on 2,983 participants, men and women in their 60’s. These were participants in the Framingham Heart Study. That study is investigating the link between cancer and heart disease. Data was taken between the years 1991 and 2008. 480 participants developed obesity-related cancer. A seven point score system was devised by researchers to determine the relationship between the guidelines and actual patient outcomes. Things researchers looked at included physical activity, body fat, alcohol consumption, plant-based and animal-based foods, foods that promote weight gain and how food is prepared and processed. Researchers found that the current guidelines for alcohol consumption, two drinks per day for men and one for women, proved accurate. Those who consumed plant-based foods and starchy vegetables had a far lower risk of colorectal cancer. Eating a plant-based diet and limiting alcohol was an effective anti-cancer strategy, the researchers found.