The risk of cancer can be reduced by consuming organic foods, a new study has suggested. The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Julia Baudry, said that people who regularly eat organic foods lowered their overall risk of developing different types of cancers, particularly postmenopausal breast cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as reported by CNN.
The study, which was conducted by a team of researchers at France’s Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (the National Institute of Health and Medical Research), looked at the diets of nearly 70,000 French adults. According to CNN’s report, more than three quarters of the participants in the study were women in their mid-40s.
Participants were divided into four different groups in accordance with the frequency of their organic food consumption, and the study took 16 organic products into consideration, including meat and fish, fruits and vegetables, dietary supplements, ready-to-eat meals, condiments and vegetable oils, and some other organic products.
Per the CNN report, each participant in the study had a different follow-up time but it was up to four-and-a-half years, on average. During the time-frame of the study, a total of 1,340 cancers were developed by the participants. It was found that breast cancer was the most prominent type of cancer with 459 cases, followed by prostate cancer with 180 cases, colorectal cancer with 99 cases, and non-Hodgkin lymphomas with 47 cases.
The study compared the organic food scores of the participants with cases of cancer and calculated a negative relationship between high scores (eating the most organic food) and overall cancer risk. Participants who consumed organic foods the most were 25 percent less likely to develop cancer.
Specifically, the participants were “73 % less likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma and 21 % less likely to develop post-menopausal breast cancer,” per CNN. The study found that even those participants whose diets were not considered high in quality but they chose organic food options had a reduced risk of cancer.
“Although our findings need to be confirmed, promoting organic food consumption in the general population could be a promising preventive strategy against cancer,” Dr. Baudry said.
Some consumers prefer organic food choices because they are grown and produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, the use of veterinary medications, or genetically modified organisms. Therefore, organic products are less likely to contain residues from pesticides, per the Daily Mail.
Although manufacturers of pesticides dispute that they are linked to cancer, studies have produced overwhelming evidence that supports the link between pesticides and cancers. Dr. Baudry further said that when the environmental risk factors for cancer are taken into consideration, there’s “growing evidence of a link between exposure to pesticides notably in farm workers and cancer development.”
“While dose responses of such molecules or possible cocktail effects are not well known, an increase in toxic effects has been suggested even at low concentrations of pesticide mixtures. [And] because of their lower exposure to pesticide residues, it can be hypothesised that high organic food consumers may have a lower risk of developing cancer.”