EATING a healthy veggie diet could slash your bowel cancer risk by a fifth, a study found – but only if you’re a man.
Around 43,000 Brits get the disease every year, making it one of the most common tumour types.
Half of cases could be avoided with better health, say experts, with swapping meat for vegetables and grains an easy win.
Scientists at Kyung Hee University in South Korea found colorectal cancer was 22 per cent less likely in men who ate the most fruit and veg, compared to those eating the least.
They studied 80,000 men in the US and 93,000 women – but women did not get the same benefit from a greener diet.
Study author Professor Jihye Kim said: “The antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains could lower colorectal cancer risk by suppressing chronic inflammation.
“Men tend to have a higher risk of bowel cancer than women – this could help explain why eating greater amounts of healthy plant-based foods was associated with reduced risk in men but not women.”
Participants in the study kept track of what they ate and drank for a year and researchers classed their diets according to how healthy they were.
Results in the journal BMC Medicine showed the fewest cases of cancer over a 19-year period were in men eating the healthiest plant-based diets.
Healthy veggie foods include fresh fruit and vegetables and grains such as oats, wheat and brown rice.
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Cancer Research UK estimates 54 per cent of bowel cancer cases – 23,000 per year – could be prevented by healthier lifestyles.
Sun writer Dame Deborah James urged readers to be aware of symptoms, which include changes to your poo and tummy pain, before sadly dying of the disease aged 40 in June.
Prof Kim added: “Our findings suggest that eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.”