Study: Healthy Eating Impacts Colon Health, Planet Earth
Leading health agencies recommend people eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains for their health.
Studies have shown consuming plant-based foods may reduce the risk of colon or rectal cancer and have other health benefits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eating healthy has several benefits. It helps you live longer and lowers your chances of developing serious health problems. These health problems include heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
According to recent research, individuals who followed a diet that prioritized environmental sustainability had a 25 percent lower risk of mortality throughout a follow-up period exceeding three decades.
Diet Plan May Reduce Cancer Deaths
Several trendy eating plans promote consuming plant-based foods. This new research references the Planetary Health Diet as beneficial to both the body and the planet.
The EAT-Lancet Commission developed the Planetary Health Diet in 2019. This plan recommends filling your plate with more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. The plan also emphasizes eating smaller portions of meat, fish, eggs, refined cereals and tubers in your diet.
“We proposed a new diet score that incorporates the best current scientific evidence of food effects on both health and the environment,” Linh Bui, MD, said in an American Society for Nutrition news release. “The results confirmed our hypothesis that a higher Planetary Health Diet score was associated with a lower risk of mortality.”
Dr. Bui is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Based on this diet, researchers created their own Planetary Health Diet Index (PHDI). Researchers used the index to analyze outcomes in two large cohort studies in the U.S. featuring more than 100,000 participants.
People with higher index scores had lower risks of death from cancer or cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative disease and respiratory diseases.
More research is needed to understand how people with different health conditions, religious restrictions and limited access to food are affected.
In addition to lowering mortality risks, consumption of the recommended foods also may reduce impacts to the environment.
“A sustainable dietary pattern should not only be healthy but also consistent within planetary boundaries for greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental parameters,” Dr. Bui said.
Screening Key to Colon Health
Everyone is at risk for colorectal cancer (CRC), regardless of age. You can protect your colorectal health with a healthy diet plan, exercise, avoiding alcohol and not smoking.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Undergoing screening may help avoid numerous instances of CRC.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends anyone at average risk start screening for colorectal cancer at 45. If there is a record of the disease in your family or you have had precancerous polyps, consider getting screened sooner. If you have digestive complaints, talk to your doctor regardless of your age. It is important you have troublesome symptoms evaluated.
Although there are several colon cancer screening options, colonoscopy is the preferred method. During a colonoscopy, a gastroenterologist examines the entire length of the colon for polyps or abnormalities. A doctor can find and remove precancerous polyps during the same procedure.
If you’re 45 or have symptoms, talk to your doctor and schedule a colonoscopy to protect your colon health.