Diets based on a high intake of red meat, processed meat and fatty cheeses and a low consumption of whole grains are associated with a increased risk of colorectal cancer, whereas the consumption of foods rich in fiber and of oily fish supposes a smaller risk.

The investigator Iker Alegria Lertxundi, from the Department of Pharmacy and Food Sciences of the University of the Basque Country, concludes in his doctoral thesis that the diet of patients with colorectal cancer that he has investigated is inadequate and links this fact with educational level, among other factors.

Participants in the Osakidetza colorectal cancer screening program collaborated in the study and, based on their responses, it was found that their diet did not include sufficient intake of certain nutrients such as folate, vitamins D and E, calcium and magnesium.

There was also a high intake of red and processed meats and a low consumption of whole grains and this type of diet was associated with the educational level of the patients, reports the university in a note.

Higher consumption of high-fat cheeses was also found to pose a higher risk of cancer, while higher intake of high-fiber foods and oily fish reduced the odds. In parallel, a greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet pattern it was associated with a lower risk of developing the disease.