Recently, vegan diets are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reasons too. The diet plan has numerous environmental, cultural, and even ethical benefits for people who incorporate this diet into their lifestyle.
Vegetarians are people who follow the vegan lifestyle. Vegetarians don’t eat foods and products containing meat, fish, eggs, dairies, and animal byproducts like gelatin and honey; their diet only has plant-based products.
Many studies have indicated many health benefits concerning the vegan diet, which suggests that such a diet can increase longevity and the overall well-being of such a person. Research has further shown that vegan diets may lower the risk of colon cancer.
Colon cancer is known to be the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, and it has been revealed that a vegan diet can lower the risk of colon cancer.
Can Vegan Diets Prevent or Treat Colon Cancer?
Colorectal cancer is the occurrence of cell growth in the colon or rectum. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has outlined some risk factors of colon cancer which include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Genetics and family history of colon cancer
- Low levels of physical activity or exercise
- Diets that are low in fiber and high in fat
- Diets high in processed meat.
- Alcohol use.
Although you cannot eradicate some of these risk factors, you can take actionable steps to reduce your chances of getting this cancer. Significantly modifying your diet is one such step. In addition, there is evidence that switching to a plant-based diet may prevent colon cancer.
A 2022 review of 49 studies that included more than 3 million people found that plant-based diets were protective against all types of digestive system cancers, including colorectal cancer. However, you should note that not all diets in the review were fully vegan diets.
A 2015 prospective cohort study discovered lower incidences of colon cancer in 96,354 vegetarians after seven years. However, this study was considered low quality due to a conflict of interests. Additionally, vegetarian diets differ from vegan ones in that the latter may include eggs and dairy.
One review even indicates that vegans may lower their overall risk of colon cancer by 15 percent. In addition, other reviews have firmly established that eating a high-fiber diet can help reduce the risk of colon cancer because most people who follow vegan diets tend to eat more fiber than those who follow other diet patterns.
Finally, one review has indicated that legumes —which contain fiber and cancer-fighting oxidants— may reduce the risk of colon cancer when eaten regularly. This product is a regular meal in many vegan diets.
Although there is no evidence that vegan diets can treat colon cancer, studies have suggested that eating a bean diet may help reduce the risk of death in people with colon cancer.