Can eating organic food prevent cancer? A new study suggests yes


Lead by a French institute, the team studied almost 70,000 French adults over 4.5 years. Two months after enrollment, volunteers were asked to provide information on their consumption frequency of 16 labeled organic products, including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat and fish, grains, ready-to-eat meals, coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar, and dietary supplements.

Among 68,946 participants (78% female; mean age at baseline, 44.2 years), 1,340 first incident cancer cases were identified during follow-up, with the most prevalent being 459 breast cancers, 180 prostate cancers, 135 skin cancers, 99 colorectal cancers, 47 non-Hodgkin lymphomas, and 15 other lymphomas.

What researchers found, was that in patients who ate mostly organic foods, there were less cancers - specifically post-menopausal breast cancer and lymphoma.

After they took these and other demographic factors into account, they found that the people who ate organic food most frequently were 25 percent less likely to develop any kind of cancer than the people who ate organic food the least.

After comparing the quantity of organic food consumed by each participant with the number of cancer cases the researchers reached an interesting conclusion.

"If the findings are confirmed, promoting organic food consumption in the general population could be a promising preventive strategy against cancer", the abstract said.

The researchers noted that while the study does not prove an organic diet causes a reduction in cancers, it suggests that an organic-based diet could contribute to reducing cancer risk.

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The organic food questionnaire was also not validated, making it unclear what researchers were actually measuring.

People should eat right and maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise to prevent cancer, Hu said.

Commenting on the study, nutrition experts from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health concluded: "More research in this area is urgently needed because cancer is a serious public health challenge and foods containing pesticide residues are widely consumed".

The study opens the door to many interesting questions, but it's not going to be the last word on whether organic foods matter for health, and cancer risk in particular.

She added the organic food effect on cancer was not seen when the cohort was further broken down to compare people with similar lifestyles such as how much they smoked and education levels. Bean sprouts and soy are also good anti-cancer food. They also align with those of another study that showed a negative relationship between eating organic food and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, he said. According to the tenders, most of the people in the study were less fat, non-smoker and less alcohol consumption.

For example, an article published in Workplace Health & Safety notes the link between pesticide exposure and developmental issues in children.