Colon Cancer: Diet Makes A Big Difference
Of all cancers, lung cancer kills the most Americans. But the kind of cancer that occurs in the colon and rectum is the second biggest threat, stealing the lives of approximately 55,000 Americans per year.
In case you are wondering, the colon, or large intestine, is designed to collect the waste products of digestion and shuttle them out of your body via the rectum. Evidence suggests that exposing this organ to large amounts of certain harmful chemicals or digestive by-products can trigger either benign pre-cancerous growths or outright malignant tumors in an otherwise healthy colon.
A Colon-Friendly Diet
It is not surprising that what you or you do not consume plays a big part in preventing colon cancer. In fact, scientists who have studied colon cancer say that up to 80% of all cases are preventable. And prevention starts with food.
Here is how:
1. Fill your grocery cart with crops
More than 20 scientific studies have shown that eating more fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Health experts even insist that the evidence that a sufficient intake of fruits and vegetables helps protect against colon cancer is stronger than the evidence for any possible protective factor.
How much do you have to eat to lower your risk? According to some professors of medicine in the cancer prevention and control program in the U.S., increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables until you are eating the equivalent of five full servings a day will definitely lower your risk of getting the disease.
2. Enjoy soy
In a study of nearly 1,000 Californians, the people who ate soybeans in some form, at least once a week, had half the risk of developing polyps as compared to people who did not eat soybeans. Polyps refer to the growths in the colon that are precursors to colon cancer.
3. Slice some meat from your diet
In one study, women who ate red meat, like lamb, beef, or pork, five days in a week had a three-to-four times higher risk of developing colon cancer than women who did not any. Fried or broiled meats may be particularly risky because they may increase levels of mutagens. These are substances that can trigger tumors.
4. Get plenty of calcium
Calcium appears to be a significant agent in the reduction of risk for colon cancer. According to some researches, calcium worked in the same way as fiber, reducing the level of possible cancer-promoting bile acids in the colon.
Health experts recommend an intake of 1,500 milligrams of calcium per day, which can come from both dietary sources and supplements. Good sources of calcium in the diet include dairy products such as skim milk and non-fat yogurt and cheeses; fish such as canned salmon with bones and sardines with bones; green vegetables such as collard greens, broccoli, kale, and mustard; and calcium-fortified orange juice.
5. Water therapy
Researchers in at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer research Center in Seattle studied 400 middle-aged men and women with a history of colon cancer, comparing their diets to those of cancer-free counterparts. They found that among women who drank more than five glasses of plain water a day, there were fewer cases of colon cancer. In fact, their risk was about half of what it was for women who drank fewer glasses a day.
These are just some of the many ways to prevent colon cancer. Indeed, there is a definite truth in the saying, "You are what you eat." Hence, it would be better to be wary on what you eat in order to avoid the risk of getting colon cancer.