Organic Food Linked to Reduced Cancer Risk
People who eat a lot of organic food are 24% less likely to get cancer, according to a new French study.
The study looked at the diets of almost 70,000 people and monitored them to see how many developed cancer.
Organic fruit and vegetables are those that are grown without using pesticides, man-made fertilisers or genetic modification techniques.
Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that haven’t been given any antibiotics or growth hormones.
Health status and diet
This research, by the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale, and Universit é Paris 13 in France, involved 68,946 volunteers. At the start of the study, the volunteers were asked to provide information about their sociodemographic status, body measurements, health status and lifestyle behaviours.
Two months later they were asked how often they ate 16 different organic products, including fruit and vegetables, dairy and eggs, and meat and fish.
The participants were followed up for the next few years, with annual questionnaires about their health, including whether they had been diagnosed with cancer.
In total, 1,340 cancers developed among participants (2%). These included breast cancer (34%), prostate cancer (13%), skin cancer (10%) and bowel cancer (7%).
Those people who ate the most organic food had a 24% lower risk of developing cancer compared with those who ate the least amount of organic food. There were no differences in people who ate moderate amounts of organic food compared with those who ate the least organic food.
Women, those with a higher education or occupational status, and those who did more physical activity were more likely to eat organic foods.
The study does not prove a direct cause between organic food and cancer, especially as those who ate more organic food also tended to have healthy lifestyles in general. And cancers still developed in people who ate the most organic foods.
However, the researchers concluded that: “A higher frequency of organic food consumption was associated with a reduced risk of cancer. Although the study findings need to be confirmed, promoting organic food consumption in the general population could be a promising preventive strategy against cancer.”
The study results were published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
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