Dietary Patterns, Whole Plant Foods, Nutrients and Phytochemicals in Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Management

  • Mark L. Dreher
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


Globally colorectal cancer (CRC) rates have doubled since the 1970s and incidence is strongly associated with the Western lifestyle and aging populations. As much as 90% of CRC cases may be attributable to dietary factors. A number of nutrients and phytochemicals are considered to be potentially protective against CRC to various degrees including fiber, isoflavones, flavonoids, antioxidant vitamins, carotenoids, folate, calcium, magnesium, and selenium. Higher adherence to a Western dietary pattern, which can stimulate a proinflammatory systemic response, can significantly increase risk of colorectal adenomas and CRC, especially in diets high in red or processed meats. In contrast, higher adherence to healthy dietary patterns including the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), Healthy Eating Indices, pesco-vegetarian and low inflammatory index diets can significantly reduce risk of colorectal adenoma and CRC. Survivors of CRC with high intake of Western dietary patterns had significantly higher odds of CRC mortality and recurrence compared to those consuming healthy diets. Dietary patterns rich in fruits, vegetables (including green leafy vegetables, cruciferous and allium vegetables), legumes (including soy), whole-grains (≥3 servings/day) and peanuts may have protective effects against colorectal adenomas and CRC risk. Diets rich in dietary fiber have been related to a lower CRC risk due in large part to beneficial effects of butyrate, derived from fiber fermentation by colonic microflora, an inhibitor of colonocyte tumor cell initiation and progression.


Colorectal cancer Colorectal adenomas Dietary fiber Antioxidants vitamins Calcium Magnesium Selenium Folate Isoflavonoids Carotenoids Phenolics Dietary patterns Whole plant foods Fruits Vegetables Legumes Soy products Whole-grains Peanuts Tree nuts Seeds 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark L. Dreher
    • 1
  1. 1.Nutrition Science Solutions LLCWimberleyUSA

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