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Could eating organic reduce your cancer risk?

By now most of us know the benefits of eating organic. Eating an organic diet can: enhance your immune system, boost your cardiovascular protection, reduce the presence of pesticides, and promote animal welfare. Although, according to a new study published by JAMA Internal Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal, eating organic may also help protect people from non-Hodgkin lymphoma and postmenopausal breast cancer.

Researchers studied nearly 70,000 French adults for an average of almost 5 years to determine the differences in cancer risk between those that did and didn’t consume organic foods. The study was made up mostly of women in their mid-40s, and scientists measured their intake of 16 organic products, “including fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, ready-to-eat meals, vegetable oils and condiments, dietary supplements and other products.” In the nearly 5 years the study was conducted, “volunteers developed a total of 1,340 cancers. The most prevalent was breast cancer (459) followed by prostate cancer (180), skin cancer (135), colorectal cancer (99), and non-Hodgkin lymphomas (47).”

The experts used an “organic food score” to calculate the chances of reducing your cancer risk by consuming organic foods. According to the study, eating a diet of mostly organic foods reduced the risk of cancer by 25%, and they were “73% less likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma and 21% less likely to develop post-menopausal breast cancer.” You may not even need to eat a “high-quality diet” to see the benefit when eating organic. Just consuming organic foods seemed to reduce the risk of cancer.

While the results of the study are promising, important questions remain. It’s unknown how the lives of those that didn’t eat organic might have contributed to their risk of cancer. As the experts explain, “people who choose not to eat organic despite being able to afford to do so might have a poor attitude toward their health in general and that would likely influence the results.” Even those conducting the study aren’t letting anyone get ahead of themselves. The study’s own commentary stated “At the current stage of research, the relationship between organic food consumption and cancer risk is still unclear…” More research of course needs to be done, these numbers do seem promising though.

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