When was the last time you ate some yoghurt?
If it was longer than a week ago, you might want to add a tub to your weekly shop as new research from the The University of Washington suggests the dairy product might play an important role in preventing bowel cancer in men.
The study, which tracked 32,000 men for 25 years, found that those who consumed at least two portions of yogurt a week had 19% fewer ‘adenoma growths’ than those who didn’t.
Adenomas are polyps in the bowel which may go on to become cancerous.
Even more interestingly, yoghurt lovers were 26% less likely to develop the most high risk types of tumour.
As the study was just observational, the researchers could not say for certain what the connection between yoghurt and cancer prevention was.
But they suggested it could be to do with “good” bacteria in commonly found in live yoghurt – lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilius.
They also speculated that anti-inflammatory qualities in yoghurt may prevent gut leakiness, a risk factor for the disease.
Researcher Dr Yin Cao, from Washington University, said: “Our data provide novel evidence for the role of yoghurt in early stage of colorectal cancer development and the potential of gut bacteria in modulating this process.
“The findings, if confirmed by future studies, suggest that yoghurt might serve as a widely acceptable modifiable factor, which could complement colorectal cancer screening and/or reduce risk of adenoma among the unscreened.”
The study tracked a total of 32,606 men and 55,743 women, all of whom had a lower bowel endoscopy, which enables medics to view the inside of their gut.
But, strangely, no similar pattern was found in women.
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, with almost 42,000 diagnoses annually.
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