Consumption of a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits and fish, along with a decrease in intake of soft drinks may help cut the risk of developing colorectal cancer by nearly 86 per cent, according to a study.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) develops from intestinal polyps and has been linked to a low-fibre diet heavy on red meat, alcohol and high-calorie foods, researchers said.
"We found that each one of these three choices was associated with a little more than 30 per cent reduced odds of having an advanced, pre-cancerous colorectal lesion, compared to people who did not eat any of the MD components," said Naomi Fliss Isakov, PhD at Tel-Aviv Medical Centre, in Israel.
Researchers found that among people who made all three healthy choices - loading up on fish, fruit and cutting back on soft drinks - the benefit was compounded to almost 86 per cent reduced odds.
The team used dietary questionnaires from about 808 people who were undergoing screening or diagnostic colonoscopies.
All subjects were between the ages 40 and 70 years old, without high risk of CRC, and answered a food frequency questionnaire.
They found that compared to subjects with clear colonoscopies, those who had advanced polyps reported fewer components of the Mediterranean diet (MD).
Even consumption of two to three components of the diet, compared to none, was associated with half the odds of advanced polyps, researchers said.
Odds were reduced in a dose response manner with additional MD components - meaning that the more MD components people adhered, the lower their odds of having advanced colorectal polyps, they said.
After adjusting to account for other CRC risk factors, including other dietary components, the team narrowed in on high fish and fruit and low soft drinks as the best combo for reduced odds of advanced colorectal polyps.