Harvard researchers: Inflammatory diets linked to colorectal cancer

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Here's another reason to say goodbye to hot dogs, soda, and white bread: A Harvard study published online Jan. 18, 2018, by JAMA Oncology suggests that diets promoting chronic inflammation are associated with colorectal cancer. Researchers analyzed the self-reported eating habits of more than 120,000 men and women, who filled out surveys every four years over a period of 26 years. People in the study who ate the most foods that promoted inflammation — such as red and processed meats, sugary drinks, and refined grains — had a higher rate of colorectal cancer compared with people who ate the least of these foods. For men, the risk was 44% higher; for women, the risk was 22% higher. The people who ate pro-inflammatory diets also ate fewer vegetables and drank less tea, wine, and coffee. A growing number of studies have found that chronic inflammation is associated with cancer. And many other studies have shown links between pro-inflammatory diets and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The bottom line: Anything you can do to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation is a good idea. That could mean cutting out foods that are associated with inflammation, reducing stress, or getting more exercise.