- Whole foods could be a better way
to prevent low-grade chronic inflammation and colon cancer
- Whole foods reduced the levels of
colonic mucosal interleukin-6 (IL-6), which is linked to colon cancer
- Common whole foods are whole
grains, tubers, fruits and vegetables.
A diet rich in
colorful fruits and vegetables may contain compounds that can reduce the risk
of developing colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, finds a new study.
Diet Increase Risk of Colon Cancer
diet increases the risk of colon cancer by elevating colonic mucosal
interleukin-6 (IL-6) expression, which plays a role in inflammation. Elevated
levels of IL-6 are correlated with proteins, such as Ki-67, which is linked to
the spread and growth of cancer cells.
Lower Colon Cancer Risk
A research team
from the Pennsylvania State University conducted a study on pigs. Pigs in the
experimental group were served a high-calorie diet supplemented with
purple-fleshed potatoes. Pigs in the control group were also served a
Pigs that were
fed purple-fleshed potatoes had less colonic mucosal IL-6 compared to the
‘Consumption of a whole food diet lowers the risk of developing colon cancer. Some whole foods include whole grains, tubers, fruits, and vegetables.’
contain phytonutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids that are effective in
altering the IL-6 pathway.
and vegetables could prompt similar effects, but the research team used purple
potatoes that contain high amounts of bioactive compounds, such as anthocyanins
and phenolic compounds. These bioactive compounds have been linked to cancer
also have beneficial compounds, but purple potatoes have greater concentrations
of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.
team used both uncooked and baked purple potatoes and found similar effects.
Currently, anti-IL-6 drugs are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and are being
considered to treat other inflammation-promoted diseases like colon cancer. But
anti-IL-6 drugs are expensive and can cause side-effects.
"The pig model
was used because the digestive system is very similar to the human digestive
system, more so than in mice. However, the diet approach to cancer treatment
has also shown similar promise in mice," said Vanamala.
team hopes to conduct further research to understand how bioactive compounds
work on a molecular level. This could be an initial step toward finding
treatments for people with cancer.
The findings of
the study are published in the Journal of Nutritional
The study adds
evidence to recent researches that suggest that plant-based diet
tend to lower colon cancer rates
than meat-based diets.
Whole foods are
plant foods that are unprocessed and unrefined before being consumed like whole
grains, tubers, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Whole foods contain
macronutrients (protein), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and
phytonutrients (carotenoids and flavonoids).
are learning is that food is a double-edged sword -- it may promote disease,
but it may also help prevent chronic diseases, like colon cancer. But, what we
don't know is, 'how does this food work on the molecular level?' This study is
a step in that direction," said Jairam K.P. Vanamala, associate professor of
food sciences, Penn State.
Colon Cancer Colon cancer
is the cancer of the large intestine, the lower part of the
digestive system. In most of the cases, colon cancer begins as small
noncancerous clumps called adenomatous polyps. People with colon cancer usually
do not experience symptoms in the early stages. Some of the symptoms and signs
of colon cancer are constipation, rectal bleeding, abdominal discomfort,
fatigue, weight loss, and diarrhea. A diet low in fiber and high in fat contributes
to the development of colon cancer. Studies have shown that people who follow a
diet high in red meat and processed meat are at an increased risk of colon
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid calorie-dense foods like deep
fried and junk foods
- Include lots of fruits,
vegetables, whole grains and legumes
- Limit the consumption of meat.
Prefer lean meat over processed and red meat
- Reduce the intake of salt and
- Avoid consumption of alcohol
- Abigail Sido, Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Sung Woo Kim, Elisabeth Eriksson, Frank Shen, Qunhua Li, Vadiraja Bhat, Lavanya Reddivari, Jairam K.P. Vanamala. A food-based approach that targets interleukin-6, a key regulator of chronic intestinal inflammation and colon carcinogenesis. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, (2017); 43: 11 DOI: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2017.01.012