By Stephanie Stahl

Follow CBSPHILLY Facebook Twitter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – New research has been released about whether or not organic food can actually reduce the risk of cancer.

The organic industry has exploded, with the popularity of stores like Whole Foods.

People eat organic for all kinds of reasons.

This study did show a decrease in risk for certain cancers for those who ate more organic foods, but the exact link isn’t clear.

Organic food is more popular than ever as more Americans are looking to avoid additives and while we assume it’s healthier, the new research looked at cancer rates specifically.

The study covered nearly 70,000 people and followed them for about five years.

Not Exercising Worse For Health Than Smoking, Diabetes and Heart Disease, Study Finds

They were divided into three groups: those who never ate organic foods, people who consumed them occasionally, and those who had organic most of the time.

“What they found, was that in patients who ate mostly organic foods, there were less cancers, specifically post-menopausal breast cancer and lymphoma,” said Dr. Dale Shepard.

There was also a reduced risk for lymphomas, plus prostate, skin and colorectal cancers for people who eat mostly organic.

Organic food doesn’t contain pesticides which have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer, and it also usually doesn’t have added antibiotics, which reduces the risk of antibiotic resistance.

“In general, we know that healthier diets are better for you from cancer risk,” said Dr. Shepard. “So, anytime people can incorporate more fruits and vegetables, minimize processed food, the better.”

Researchers say people who eat organic also have the tendency to have an overall healthier diet and exercise more, which have been associated with reduced cancer risk.

Doctors say more research needs to be done to look at the specific role that organic food may play in cancer prevention.

Stephanie Stahl