Eating more yogurt, fiber in your diet may help prevent lung cancer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A high fiber, yogurt diet has been known to be beneficial from a cardiovascular and gastrointestinal perspective for quite some time. Now, a new study conducted at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee finds that this type of diet is also associated with a lower risk of developing lung cancer.

One in 16 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime, and a new case is discovered every 2.3 minutes. Of course, whether or not an individual smokes is certainly the top factor that can increase one’s chances of developing lung cancer, but researchers say diet can also play a role when it comes to prevention.

For the study, the research team analyzed an enormous dataset collected from a series of previous studies, incorporating information on 1.4 million adults from the United States, Europe, and Asia. They grouped all of the adults into five categories, depending on the amount of fiber and yogurt they reported eating on a daily basis. Individuals who were grouped into the highest fiber / yogurt consumption group had a 33% lower chance of developing lung cancer compared to the group that ate the lowest amount of fiber and yogurt.

“Our study provides strong evidence supporting the U.S. 2015-2020 Dietary Guideline recommending a high fiber and yogurt diet,” says senior author Xiao-Ou Shu, MD, PhD, MPH in a release. “This inverse association was robust, consistently seen across current, past and never smokers, as well as men, women and individuals with different backgrounds,”

Regarding how exactly fiber and yogurt protect against lung cancer, researchers theorize the benefits may be due to their natural prebiotic and probiotic properties. These non-digestible properties found in fiber and yogurt help induce the growth of healthy and beneficial intestinal microorganisms, which may in turn have a protective effect on the potential development of cancer.

The study is published in the scientific journal JAMA Oncology.

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John Anderer

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