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Dairy Products Might Protect You from Digestive Cancer

According to a large study published in the February 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine increasing your calcium consumption may reduce the risk of digestive cancer.

For the study, researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD analyzed data from 293,907 men and 198,903 women participating in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health Study.

The (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health Study was developed by the National Cancer Institute in 1995 to obtain data and evidence about the relationship between diet and health.

As part of the study, participants received food frequency questionnaires which they filled out between 1995 and 1996. Their answers were used to establish daily dairy consumption and their use of calcium supplements.

They were followed for an average of seven years, during which time 36,965 cases of cancer were diagnosed in men and 16,605 in women.

Researchers found that men with the highest daily calcium intake (530 mg/d) had a 16 percent reduction in digestive cancers compared those with the lowest intake (526 mg/d).

Women with the highest daily consumption (1,881 mg/d) saw a 23 percent reduction in digestive cancer risk compared to those with the lowest daily consumption (494 mg/d).

The researchers note that the reduction was most prominent with colectoral cancer.

Only about 20 percent of Americans consume the recommended daily amount of calcium. Calcium has been shown to aid bone health, help with weight loss, skin health, and reducing the risk of ccolorectal cancer and stroke. Some studies have even suggested that calcium intake is associated with longevity.

Consuming more low fat and non-fat dairy products, like yogurt and skim milk, are easy ways to get your daily dose of calcium because they are relatively inexpensive and easily absorbable.
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