Rebalancing diet could lower bowel cancer risk
REBALANCING YOUR diet could help to lower your risk of bowel cancer. Foods naturally rich in fibre and vitamin C can reduce the production of cancer-causing substances that arise when red meat is on the menu.
There were a number of food and diet-related presentations yesterday at the UK Festival of Science. Some related to cancer but others talked about obesity and also the impact of exercise on the capacity to burn fat after a meal.
The western diet is rich in red meat, with average consumption in the UK running at about 90gm a day, almost 30 per cent higher than the level recommended by the World Cancer Research Fund, said Dr Silvia Gratz, a research fellow at the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.
Consumption of red meat is associated with the production in the gut of known carcinogen N-nitroso compounds. So too are foods high in nitrates, which surprisingly include lettuce, spinach, radishes, beetroot and turnips, she said.
The team set up three dietary trials, the object being to find ways to reduce the level of N-nitroso compounds in the gut. They assessed a number of foods that have these compounds but also foods that could reduce them, working out a diet that was then given to obese men.
Dr Alexandra Johnstone, who is also based at the Rowlett institute, is participating in research into satiety and its use as a way to deal with obesity. The idea is to control weight and so gain “health by stealth”, she said.
Her work focuses on protein, a key contributor to that full feeling after a meal.