One of the most prevalent and dangerous cancers is colorectal
cancer, or cancer of the large intestine. Colorectal cancer
causes more deaths in the U.S. than any other type except
lung cancer, but there may be a way to help avoid it. Research
suggests that consuming milk and dairy products may protect
against this disease.
To evaluate the association between consumption of dairy
products and the risk of colorectal cancer, cancer cases reported
by the Finnish Cancer Registry were determined over approximately
25 years. This European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study
was conducted in Finland because it has one of the highest
per capita rates of milk consumption in the world.
People who consumed the most milk and milk products were
less likely to develop colon cancer than those who consumed
the least, although there was no significant link between
rectal cancer and milk and/or milk products. Those with diets
high in lactose (a sugar
found in milk) also had a reduced risk of colon cancer, but
vitamin D and calcium intake did not reduce the risk.
Lactose may have properties that inhibit the growth and development
of cancer cells in the bowels. The best known natural source
of lactose is milk, so consider meeting the U.S. recommended
daily allowance of dairy products (2-3 daily servings for
adults; 3-4 for children). Always try to stick to the low-fat
versions, and don't worry about the inevitable "milk
Jarvinen R, Knekt P, Hakulinen T, et al. Prospective study
on milk products, calcium and cancers of the colon and rectum.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2001:55, pp.
For more facts about nutrition, check out http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/nutrients.html.