It's well understood that cancerous growths have been associated with poor lifestyle decisions. The ills of smoking, for example, scarcely needs menti
It’s well understood that cancerous growths have been associated with poor lifestyle decisions. The ills of smoking, for example, scarcely needs mentioning. What might come as a surprise to many is the link to pickled vegetables.
Diets high in salt-preserved foods, such as pickled vegetables, have been linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer.
As the Cancer Council points out, “the body does need some sodium but in most circumstances we get all our sodium requirements from foods naturally”.
The health body, which funds and conducts cancer research, continues: “There is no need to add salt to foods. It is a good idea to switch to a low-salt diet and try flavouring foods with herbs and spices instead.”
Research published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, suggests this would be wise.
To determine whether the intakes of fresh and pickled vegetables have different effects on the risk of gastric cancer in Japanese and Korean populations, the researchers carried out a meta-analysis of published epidemiological reports.
A meta-analysis compares the results of multiple studies to arrive at a more definitive conclusion.
Eight studies on the consumption of fresh vegetables and 14 studies on the consumption of pickled vegetables related to gastric cancer risk were included in this meta-analysis.
Four studies exploring differences in gastric cancer risk in men and women were considered separately.
What did the researchers find out?
The researchers observed that a high intake of fresh vegetables was significantly associated with a decreased risk of gastric cancer.
But a high intake of pickled vegetables was “significantly associated” with an increased risk of gastric cancer.
The researchers concluded: “The results of this meta-analysis provide evidence that a high intake of pickled vegetables may increase GC [gastric cancer] risk and suggest that a high consumption of fresh vegetables, rather than a large total amount of vegetables including pickled vegetables, is important to reduce GC risk.”
It’s important to note that further studies are needed to establish causation.
Also, since the research sample was confined to Japanese and Korean populations, it’s unclear whether specific demographic differences might have played a role.
Research into different populations is therefore needed to understand how widely the risk applies.
Stomach cancer – general risk factors
You cannot always prevent stomach cancer. But making healthy changes can lower your chances of getting it.
According to the NHS, you should:
- Try to quit smoking
- Try to lose weight if you are overweight
- Wear protective clothes and masks if you work in a job where you’re exposed to harmful chemicals, such as in the rubber industry or coal mining
- Cut down on how much salt you eat
- Try to cut down on alcohol – avoid drinking more than 14 units a week
- Try to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
- Cut down on how much red and processed meat you eat, such as ham, bacon and salami.
“It is important to get any symptoms of stomach cancer checked by a GP,” adds the NHS.
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Having problems swallowing (dysphagia)
- Feeling or being sick
- Symptoms of indigestion, such as burping a lot
- Feeling full very quickly when eating.
Source: | This article first appeared on Express.co.uk