Follow A Plant-Based Eating Diet to Lower Your Risk of Esophageal, Stomach, and Pancreas Cancers

Posted June 2023
Avocado, Edamame & Chili Oil on Corn Thins slices

The benefits of following a plant-based style of eating are many from gut health to planet health. One of the many reasons to base your diet around plant foods could be a reduced risk in developing esophageal, stomach, and pancreas cancers.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. While genetics does play a risk factor in influencing your risk of developing cancer, your lifestyle choices play a strong role in influencing your likelihood of developing cancer. One of these lifestyle choices is your diet.

A recent study investigated the potential link between plant- based eating and risk of developing esophageal, stomach, and pancreas cancers. The study selected 1233 participants for the study. The researchers assessed the diet through use of food frequency questionnaires.  These includes a list of 13 plant-based foods and 5 animal-based foods. The plant-based foods included vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, refined grains, potatoes, fries and chips, nuts, olive oil, tea and coffee, fruit juices, sugar-sweetened beverages, and sweets and desserts. The animal-based foods included meat and processed meats, animal fats for cooking, eggs, fish and seafood, and dairy products.

The researchers found that those individuals who consumed a diet which was made of a high amount healthful plant-based foods had a lower risk of developing esophageal, stomach, and pancreas cancers. Specifically, those who ate the most plan-based foods compared to those consuming the least plant-based foods had 28% lower likelihood of developing esophageal cancer, 58% lower risk of stomach cancer, and 26% lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

This was not the case for all plant- based eating, as the unhealthy plant-based eating pattern was linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer. Those individuals who consumed a plant-based diet but made up mostly of unhealthy plant-based foods had a 76% of developing stomach cancer compared to those who’s diet was made up the least of these types of foods.

This highlights the importance of including mostly whole foods in the diet and the quality of the food choices does matter to influence the health benefits of a diet. While the foods and drinks like the sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains, chips and fries, sweets, and desserts still have an important place in an overall balanced diet, these are choices best chosen in moderation rather than a staple part of the diet.

Whole foods which promote health and wellbeing and decreased risk of esophageal, stomach, and pancreas cancers included whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, olive oil, tea, and coffee, whole grains and whole grain containing foods like Corn Thins slices. Whole grains have many potential reasons to reduce the risk of cancers including their array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols, and fiber.

This study emphasizes the importance of a whole dietary approach to optimize your health and wellbeing. There is no one ‘magic food’ which can prevent your risk of cancers and your whole lifestyle and choices need to be considered.  In addition, the quality of the food choices whether plant-based or animal-based matters to the overall potential health effects.

Take home message: The health benefits of plant-based eating are many and this research suggests that one of these may be reducing your risk of esophageal, stomach, and pancreas cancers.



  1. Oncina-Cánovas A, González-Palacios S, Notario-Barandiaran L, Torres-Collado L, Signes-Pastor A, de-Madaria E, Santibañez M, García-de la Hera M, Vioque J. Adherence to Pro-Vegetarian Food Patterns and Risk of Oesophagus, Stomach, and Pancreas Cancers: A Multi Case–Control Study (The PANESOES Study). Nutrients. 2022; 14(24):5288.
Ashleigh Felth…
Accredited Practising Dietitian
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    • Ashleigh Felth…