From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:

A new study by the University of South Carolina could cut your risk of dying from cancers of the esophagus, stomach, and colon.

The research tracked more than 10,500 people from 1987 through 2003. It found that people whose diets were high in food that promotes inflammation were four times more likely to die from gastrointestinal tract cancers.

Foods that promote inflammation are high in sugars, saturated fat, or are heavily processed.

USC's Arnold School of Public Health researcher Susan Steck, co-author of the study, says, "I think our study results support the recommendations to move towards a more plant-based diet, so increasing fruits and vegetables, try to increase fiber, maybe adding some spices like ginger, turmeric, oregano, garlic, adding those spices into the cooking and those would act in an anti-inflammatory way. And then trying to reduce things that are high in saturated fats, like fried foods and processed, heavily-processed baked goods and those kinds of things."

She explains that inflammation is a normal biologic process, but it becomes a problem when people have a constant, low-grade inflammation that doesn't get switched off. "And that can occur because of a poor diet or lack of physical fitness, environmental exposures, obesity. Obesity is a state of high inflammation and so that's where the problem comes in where diet may be able to act to try to reduce that chronic inflammation," she says.

The study was announced at the American Institute for Cancer Research.

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