The latest on the role of fiber in lowering the risk of colon cancer comes from an analysis of 25 studies that included data on nearly 2 million individuals. The results suggest that increased intake of fiber from cereal and whole grains reduced the risk of colon cancer, while fiber from fruits and vegetables did not. According to the analysis, increasing fiber intake by 90 grams of whole grains per day – the equivalent of three servings – was linked to a 17 percent reduction in the risk for colorectal cancer.
The British and Dutch researchers who selected, compiled, and reviewed the studies also said that a high fiber diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and, possibly, overall risk of death.
They also found that for each 10-gram increase in daily fiber intake among the participants in the 25 studies, the risk of colorectal cancer dropped by 10 percent.
In addition to the effects on the risks of colorectal cancer found in this study, increasing your fiber intake has many other health benefits including prevention of constipation, maintenance of ideal weight, and, as the British and Dutch researchers noted, reduction in the risks of heart disease and diabetes.
It is recommended for adults to get 40 grams a day from bran cereals, beans, vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Freshly ground flaxseed and psyllium seed are also excellent sources of fiber. And, while fiber from fruits and vegetables appeared not to influence colon cancer risk in this particular analysis, the vitamins and other nutrients these foods contain remain vital for optimum health.