Be Bread-Wise

25 September, 2012

Bread. The staff of life. A dietary staple. That essential sandwich ingredient and predinner munchie. 

But if you're counting calories, you're probably cutting back. And there's another reason to do so. A recent Italian study showed a significant link between high bread consumption and renal cell cancer. So nibble on fresh veggies instead of bread before your meal. Raw or cooked, vegetables appear to be protective against renal cancer.

Smoking and being overweight are known risk factors for renal cell carcinoma -- the most common type of kidney cancer. A large study comparing people with renal cancer to cancer-free men and women confirms earlier reports that diet may play a role, too. 

The researchers analyzed the diets of people diagnosed with renal cancer and compared them to the diets of people who didn't have the disease. Those who ate the most bread had a significantly higher risk of renal cancer than the people who ate the least of this food. Researchers suspect it may have something to do with the glycemic index of bread and its subsequent impact on insulin-like growth factors. 

On the other hand, when it came to protection against cancer, veggies appeared to be the stars of the study. Scientists say the vitamins and antioxidants in vegetables may be responsible, although exactly which micronutrients are most beneficial is still unknown. So get all those anticancer carotenoids, flavonoids, and phytosterols by eating veggies in all colors, shapes, and sizes. 

Of course, if you smoke, stop; and if you're overweight, take steps to lose those extra pounds. 

SOURCES: Food groups and renal cell carcinoma: a case-control study from Italy. Bravi, F., Bosetti, C., Scotti, L., Talamini, R., Montella, M., Ramazzotti, V., Negri, E., Franceschi, S., La Vecchia, C., International Journal of Cancer 2006 Oct 20 (online). 

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