Flavonoids Ward off Colon Cancer

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MAASTRICHT, The Netherlands—A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, tea, chocolate and red wine may provide overweight men and normal weight women some protection from colon and rectal cancers, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Cancer.

Dutch researchers estimated the intake of specific flavonoids in 120,852 men and women, 55 to 69 years old, who filled out dietary surveys as part of a large designed to assess ties between diet and cancer. Over 13 years, 1,444 men and 1,041 women developed colon or rectal cancer.

As reported by Reuters Health, specific flavonoid intake did not seem to influence the risk for colorectal cancer when the investigators allowed for multiple factors potentially tied to the development of colorectal cancer, including age, family history, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity and eating habits, and estrogen use among women. When they allowed for weight, it seems there may be protective effects of some of these compounds in subgroups of overweight men and normal weight women.

Compared with the least intake, the greatest intake of catechins was associated with lower colorectal cancer risk among both overweight men and normal weight women. Researchers observed a similar trend for flavonols in normal weight women.

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