African Diet Reduces Colon Cancer Risk for Black Americans

African Diet Reduces Colon Cancer Risk for Black Americans

Here’s a provocative study you might find encouraging: 20 people residing in rural areas of South Africa traded diets with 20 Americans who regularly eat fast food. Volunteers for the study were middle aged, healthy adults from various communities. Under what was described as close supervision, a two-week “food swap” was performed.

According to Science Alert, “The Americans ate low-fat, high-fiber diets, while the South Africans ate low-fiber, high-fat diets heavy on burgers and fries. Researchers measured important biomarkers that indicate colon cancer risk (including the presence of mucus and bile in their colons) before and after the two-week period.”

The study reported that the African Americans who customarily ate a fast-food, low fiber diet their entire lives experienced a rapidly improving condition upon changing their diet to the rural high-fiber South African cuisine.

On the other hand, researchers discovered certain biomarkers suggestive of colon cancer risk appeared in the South Africans who started consuming American fast foods after being accustomed to a South African diet.

Notable differences in fiber and animal protein were observed. The South Africans’ diets were fundamentally different in preparation, cooking and composition. Animal protein and fat intake were two to three times higher in the American diet, whereas carbohydrate and fiber were much higher in African diet.

 In just two weeks, changing from a Westernized diet to a traditional African high-fiber, low-fat diet reduced cancer-risk biomarkers. This was reported in the journal Nature Communications.

The ecology of our digestive tracts appears to play a significant role in boosting immune health. Eating unprocessed whole foods is a doorway to controlling health outcomes. The original study states, “The food changes resulted in remarkable reciprocal changes in mucosal biomarkers of cancer risk and in aspects of the microbiota . . . known to affect cancer risk.”

What We Can Take Away from This Study

The best news is it’s not too late to choose fibrous whole foods for healing, repairing and strengthening your body.


Stephen JD. O keefe, Jia V. Li, Leo Lahati, Junhaiou,  Fat, Fibre and Cancer Risk in African Americans and Rural Africans., Nature Communications, Volume 6,. Published April 2015, article number 6342