We know we should include more fibre in our diet, but where should we get it from? A new study reveals that source of dietary fibre makes a difference in protecting against colorectal cancer
We all know that we should eat more fibre to reduce our risk of developing colorectal cancer. However, a study published this month in the British Journal of Nutrition investigated whether the source of dietary fibre made any difference to colorectal cancer risk, and whether it made any difference in terms of cancer site, or tumor stage.
Participants for the study formed part of the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study, a cohort that includes participants aged between 45 and 75 years, with a history of dietary data. Of the 27 931 participants, a total of 728 colorectal cancers were found over the follow-up period.
As expected, a diet high in fibre was found to be associated with a reduction in the incidence of colorectal cancer, especially in women. In particular, the study reported a significant reduction in risk of colon cancer in women with the greatest intake of fruits and berries. In men, there was a reported protective effect seen with high vegetable intake and incidence of rectal cancer.
The study also seemed to suggest that a high intake of fibre-rich cereals may reduce the risk of specifically developing N0- and M0 stage colorectal cancer, however the researchers state that follow up studies are necessary to confirm these findings.
While the results of the study suggest that the protective role of fibre against colorectal cancer may be different depending on sex, tumor location, and differences in fibre source. However, a diet high in fibre, primarily from fruits and berries, was reported to have a preventive effect against colon cancer in women in this study.
Vulcan, A, Brändstedt, Manjer, J, Jirström, Ohlsson, B, Ericson, U. “Fibre intake and incident colorectal cancer depending on fibre source, sex, tumour location and Tumour, Node, Metastasis stage” British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 114, Issue 06, September 2015, pp 959-969.
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD