Thursday, September 29, 2011

Whole Grains Decrease Risk of Pancreatic Cancer by 40 Percent

There are no doubts, that preventing pancreatic cancer is far more desirable than treating it, once a tumor is developed.  This statement is ultimately true for all diseases and conditions, but for pancreatic cancer its real value is even higher, considering that most people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer eventually die of the disease.  

While you cannot influence some of the risk factors as genetic predisposition and heredity, and you are not willing to give up your unhealthy life habits, as smoking or eating fatty meat, you have to at least try to apply the scientific knowledge of what are the possible ways to decrease your chances on developing this deadly disease. Today, we will present Whole Grains food as one of the possible factors to shift the risk balance on your behalf.

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The study, published in 2007 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, compared the diets of 532 people with pancreatic cancer to the diets of 1,701 people who did not have cancer. The age, body weight and gender distributions were similar among those who did and did not have cancer, but the cancer patients were more likely to be smokers. The people in the study answered questionnaires about their intake of whole grains, refined grains, mixed grains, and sweetened refined grains over the previous year.

Researchers defined whole grains as brown rice, tortillas (corn or flour), popcorn, cooked oatmeal, wheat germ, oat bran and other types of bran, and other grains. Refined grains included white rice, white bread, muffins, bagels, biscuits, rolls, pizza, pasta, pancakes, waffles, and pretzels. Mixed grains included cooked breakfast cereals, cold cereals, dark breads, and some crackers. Sweetened refined grains included cookies, cakes, pies, sweet rolls, doughnuts, and brownies.

The study showed that brown rice, tortillas, and whole grains in the category “other grains” were associated with reduced pancreatic cancer risk, while refined grains had no effect. Cooked oatmeal, oat bran, and other cooked breakfast cereals, as well as doughnuts, and ready-made pies and cakes, were linked to an increased risk.

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After analyzing the diets for nutrient content, fiber was found to protect against pancreatic cancer. People with the highest fiber intake (at least 26.5 grams per day) had a 35 to 48% lower risk of pancreatic cancer than people with the lowest fiber intake (15.6 grams per day or less).

The observation that cooked cereals, including oatmeal, increased pancreatic cancer risk was unexpected, but the study’s authors noted that their questionnaire did not distinguish between unprocessed oats (oat groats and steel cut) and highly processed oats (presweetened and instant). These popular processed oatmeal products would be better characterized as refined or sweetened refined grains.

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“These findings support the idea that eating a high-fiber diet with plenty of whole grains can prevent pancreatic cancer,” commented Louise Tolzmann, a naturopathic doctor in Oregon who works with people with cancer. “Healthcare professionals and public health policy makers might be able to help people avoid this deadly cancer by encouraging them to include more whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat, and teaching them to use less well-known grains such as barley, quinoa, and millet.”

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Whole Grain food can give an extra protection against other unwanted illnesses, besides pancreatic cancer. It is confirmed that in conjunction with a diet full of fruits and vegetables, eating 3 ounces of whole grains every day helps prevent many chronic diseases. That means your daily sandwich on Honey Whole Wheat can reduce your risk of digestive cancers by 21-43%, gastric cancer by 43%, colon and rectum cancer by 21%, endometrial cancer by 10-45% and ovarian cancer by 37-40%. 

Other benefits of whole grains most documented by repeated studies include:
  • stroke risk reduced 30-36%
  • type 2 diabetes risk reduced 21-30%
  • heart disease risk reduced 25-28%
  • better weight maintenance
  • reduced risk of asthma
  • healthier carotid arteries
  • reduction of inflammatory disease risk
  • lower risk of colorectal cancer
  • healthier blood pressure levels
  • less gum disease and tooth loss

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So, why not revise your diet and eating habits in favor of Whole Grain products? It may save your health and even life, who knows?

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