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Eating Organic Foods Linked to a Lower Risk of Cancer

There’s already quite a few reasons to opt for organic fruits and vegetables, and a new study identified yet another — eating organic foods is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers.

In a French study of 68,946 adults, those who ate the most organic foods, compared to those who ate the least, were 25 percent less likely to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and postmenopausal breast cancer.

The researchers surveyed the volunteers about their dietary habits over three 24-hour periods, and categorized them based on how often they ate organic products like produce, meat and fish, ready to eat meals, sweets and more. They conducted each survey at different times for each person, but the study lasted an average of four and a half years.

Over that time period, the volunteers developed a total of 1,340 new cancers, with the most common being breast, prostate, skin and colorectal cancers.

However, the study authors emphasize that their findings are observational, and cannot prove that eating organic foods is the exact cause of the lowered risk of cancer. Rather, the results suggest that choosing organic options can contribute to reducing the risk of cancer.

“Asking about consumption of organic foods … assesses a behavior but not the causes of the behavior,” Dr. Jorge Chavarro, a researcher at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, wrote in an editorial about the study.

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Additionally, the researchers point out that organic foods remain cost-prohibitive to many people, and it may be that those who are eating these items are simply able to take better care of their overall health because they can afford it.

“While organic food (on confirmation of our findings) may be important to reduce the risk of specific cancers, the high price of such foods remains an important hurdle,” the authors write in the study. “Indeed, organic foods remain less affordable than corresponding conventional products, and high prices are a major obstacle for buying organic foods.”

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