Colors of vegetables and fruits and the risks of colorectal cancer

Jeeyoo Lee, Aesun Shin, Jae Hwan Oh, Jeongseon Kim

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AIM To investigate the relationship between the colors of vegetables and fruits and the risk of colorectal cancer in Korea. METHODS A case-control study was conducted with 923 colorectal cancer patients and 1846 controls recruited from the National Cancer Center in Korea. We classified vegetables and fruits into four groups according to the color of their edible parts (e.g. , green, orange/ yellow, red/purple and white). Vegetable and fruit intake level was classified by sex-specific tertile of the control group. Logistic regression models were used for estimating the odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI). RESULTS High total intake of vegetables and fruits was strongly associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer in women (OR = 0.32, 95%CI: 0.21-0.48 for highest vs lowest tertile) and a similar inverse association was observed for men (OR = 0.60, 95%CI: 0.45-0.79). In the analysis of color groups, adjusted ORs (95%CI) comparing the highest to the lowest of the vegetables and fruits intake were 0.49 (0.36-0.65) for green, and 0.47 (0.35-0.63) for white vegetables and fruits in men. An inverse association was also found in women for green, red/purple and white vegetables and fruits. However, in men, orange/yellow vegetables and fruits (citrus fruits, carrot, pumpkin, peach, persimmon, ginger) intake was linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer (OR = 1.61, 95%CI: 1.22-2.12). CONCLUSION Vegetables and fruits intake from various color groups may protect against colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2527-2538
Number of pages12
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number14
StatePublished - 14 Apr 2017


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Korea
  • Vegetable and fruits

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