Can Eating Organic Lower Your Cancer Risk?

organicThere are plenty of things that we know we should do to lower our risk of developing cancer. Quit using tobacco, get regular mammograms, wear sunscreen, the list goes on and on. Recent studies are showing that there may be something else you can do: eat organic foods.

A recent study by Inserm, the French version of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, followed almost 70,000 adult participants for about four and a half years. Based on the study those who ate more organic foods were 25 percent less likely to develop certain types of cancer than those who ate more conventional foods.

Though the study doesn’t 100 percent confirm that eating more organic foods will lower cancer risk, the results have warranted further studies into this topic to identify potential factors. Researchers feel that a primary factor may be pesticides, which are less likely to appear on organic foods due to specific regulations that must be followed for a food to be labelled “organic.”

“We get a lot of questions on the importance of eating organic foods versus conventionally grown foods,” said Beth Beckett, Oncology Dietitian at the Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center. “If it fits into your budget we recommend choosing organic foods. However, eating more fruits and vegetables in general should still be a priority due to their numerous health benefits.”

Our oncology dietitians say thoroughly washing your fruits and vegetables can also reduce pesticides without you having to pay extra for the organic label.

“Washing your produce well with plain water is recommended, as it can reduce pesticide residues considerably,” said Mary Beth Peiffer, the other Oncology Dietitian at the Community Cancer Center. “For example, even washing the outside of a melon is recommended because your knife can drag potentially harmful substances into the food.”

For more information on food safety our dietitians recommend checking out the National Pesticide Information Center website.

For more information on nutrition and wellness programs at the Community Cancer Center, call us at (319) 558-4876.

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