Flavonoids may cut risk of colorectal cancer

August 9, 2006 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News

Flavonoids may cut risk of colorectal cancer
According to study findings published in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, a diet rich in certain flavonoids could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by over 40 percent.

Flavonoids are compounds that include isoflavones, anthocyanidins and flavonols and are becoming known for their cancer fighting properties.

To examine the effects of flavonoids on colorectal cancer risk, researchers at the Università degli Studi di Milano in Italy recruited nearly 2000 cases of colorectal cancers and over 4000 hospital controls admitted for acute non-cancerous diseases. 

Dietary intake was assessed using a validated food-frequency questionnaire. Intake of six classes of flavonoids (isoflavones, anthocyanidins, flavones, flavonols, flavan-3-ols, and flavanones) was quantified using recently published food and beverage composition data.

After researchers adjusted the results for sex, age, family history of colorectal cancer, BMI, energy intake, education, alcohol consumption, and physical activity, the researchers calculated that the highest intake of flavonols was associated with a 46 per cent reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer, compared to people in the lowest intake group.

Similar risk reductions were calculated for isoflavones (24 per cent), anthocyanidins (43 per cent), and flavones (22 per cent), when comparing highest intake to lowest intake.

This recent study supports a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Flavones, commonly found in citrus fruit, have been increasingly linked to health benefits, including protection against cancer, heart disease and inflammation.

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