Eating certain foods can help reduce your risk of colon cancer, which develops in the lowest part of the digestive tract. Doctors often talk about colon cancer together with cancer of the rectum, known as colorectal cancer, the third cancer-related cause of death in women and the second cancer-related cause of death in men. Fortunately, you can reduce your risk of colon and colorectal cancer by making smart food choices.
Foods That Lower Your Risk of Developing Colon Cancer
Adding certain foods can lower your risk of developing colon cancer. Avoiding other foods may also lower your risk.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain several nutrients that can help prevent colon cancer. One nutrient in particular – the B vitamin folate – seems to have special protective value against this common form of cancer. You can get the folate you need by eating green leafy vegetables, such as spinach or kale, and citrus fruits. Beans, lentils, peas, and fortified cereals also contain folate.
Fruits, vegetables, and certain types of tea also contain powerful antioxidants, such as carotene, beta-carotene, and lutein. Antioxidants protect the cells and tissues of your digestive tract from free radical damage that could eventually lead to colon cancer. Eat carrots for carotene, yellow or orange fruits or vegetables for beta-carotene, and spinach or other leafy green vegetables for lutein.
Whole grains provide the dietary fiber that helps speed the movement of stool and waste products through your intestines. Slow movement of stool and waste products allows potentially cancer-causing toxins to linger near the vulnerable tissue lining the interior of your intestines. Fiber also dilutes the concentration of toxins within the stool to make them less harmful.
Eat fish to get omega-3 fatty acids, which have protective properties against cancer. Fatty fish, such as salmon, herring and mackerel, provide the most omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seed and flax seed oil, walnuts, and canola oil also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Foods to avoid
Avoid dietary fats from red and processed meats, specifically saturated fats, as these may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Reducing excess salt intake and alcohol can also decrease your risk of developing colon cancer.
In general, eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish to protect yourself from colon cancer. For more information about foods and colon cancer, consult with your healthcare professional.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 770.730.0119 today to make an appointment with Virtual Imaging.