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“Whole Food Diet” Linked to Reduced Colon Cancer Risk in Pigs

A new study has found that a “whole food diet” is correlated with a reduced colon cancer risk in pigs.

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“Whole Food Diet” Linked to Reduced Colon Cancer Risk in Pigs

A new study has found that a “whole food diet” is correlated with a reduced colon cancer risk in pigs. “Understanding how these compounds work on a molecular level could be an initial step towards finding treatments for people with cancer.”

The Study

A new study has found that diets rich in “whole foods”- colorful fruits and vegetables, could contain compounds which could help reduce risks of colon cancer and “inflammatory bowel diseases” in pigs.

“Understanding how these compounds work on a molecular level could be an initial step towards finding treatments for people with cancer,” the study said.

 “What we are learning is that food is a double-edge sword—it may promote disease, but it may also help prevent chronic diseases, like colon cancer," explained Jairam Vanamala, a food sciences associate professor at Penn State. "What we don't know is, 'how does this food work on the molecular level?' This study is a step in that direction."

The researchers served a group of pigs with high calorie diets with supplements of purple potatoes, and a control group without the purple potatoes. The purple potato group had less of protein “IL-6,” which is an important protein in inflammation. Increased levels of it are also correlated with proteins like Ki-67, which are correlated with cancer cell growths. 

Comments On the Findings

Vanamala said: “these findings reinforce recent research that suggests cultures with plant-based diets tend to have lower colon cancer rates than cultures with meat-based diets.” 

“Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States and a leading killer in many other Western countries, which tend to include more meat and less fruits and vegetables,” he added.

He also explained the choice of purple potatoes, saying: "White potatoes may have helpful compounds, but the purple potatoes have much greater concentrations of these anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant compounds," said Vanamala. "We use the purple potato as a model and hope to investigate how other plants can be used in the future."

Vanamala also pointed out that, although they just used purple potatoes, other colorful veggies and fruits can have similar effects. 

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