Colon cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer among men and women in the United States. According to some estimates, about 140,000 people are diagnosed with this cancer each year and 50,000 patients die from it annually. The exact cause of colon cancer is relatively unknown, but scientists explain that a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors plays a role. Is there a way to lower your risk of this severe disease? Yes, there are many things you can do and this article will list eleven everyday tips you should follow.
1. Eat Fiber-Rich Diet
Fiber is essential for regular digestion and its benefits for colon cancer prevention are well-documented. It adds bulk to the digestive system and speeds up the process of flushing waste from your body. As a result, carcinogens also leave your body without affecting intestinal cells. A study whose findings were published in the BMJ found that a high intake of dietary fiber was strongly associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. A vast majority of Americans don’t consume enough fiber. Ideally, adult women need 25g of fiber a day while men need 38g.
2. Drink Water
Staying hydrated throughout the day is important for overall health and wellbeing. Just think about it, your body and all its organs and systems need water to function properly. Although we know that water intake is crucial, we don’t drink enough. How many glasses of water have you had today? One or two maybe, right? That happens because we wait to feel very thirsty in order to drink water, but it’s a mistake. Make sure you drink about eight glasses of water throughout the day. After all, water is involved in flushing cancer-causing compounds out of your body and prevents constipation. You can even download some app to track water intake.
3. Quit Smoking
If you’re a smoker you’re already aware that your habit is unhealthy and the chances are high, your doctor has already recommended you to quit. Smoking increases the risk of a wide array of health conditions including colon cancer and rectal cancer. In one study ever-smokers had a moderate colon cancer risk while current smokers had a high risk of developing this severe disease. Remember, it’s never too late to quit smoking and this is an entirely achievable goal, regardless of when you started with this habit. Talking to your doctor can double your chances to succeed.
4. Consume Whole Foods
With the easy access to different kinds of cheap foods in interesting packages, bright colors, promoted by funny commercials, it comes as no wonder why a vast majority of people prefer processed foods. However, heavily processed foods have little to no nutritional value, thus depriving your body of valuable vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It’s needless to mention they tend to be more difficult to digest. Make sure you increase consumption of whole foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, and limit intake of processed foods and snacks.
5. Exercise Regularly
Colon cancer prevention revolves around a healthy lifestyle. It wouldn’t even be a healthy lifestyle without a regular physical activity, right? Exercise helps you maintain weight in a healthy range, improve heart health, boost energy levels, strengthen the immune system, and so on. According to a study published in Sports Medicine lack of physical activity increases the risk of colon cancer. In fact, about 12% to 14% cases of colon cancer could be attributed to a sedentary lifestyle. A separate research, published in the British Journal of Cancer, confirmed previous findings regarding the detrimental role of sedentary lifestyle in colon cancer risk. The choice of exercise and the amount depends on you. Any type of physical activity is better than nothing. But strive to do at least 30 minutes of some exercise a day.
6. Keep Weight In A Healthy Range
Obesity is one of risk factors for colon cancer which is why keeping weight in a healthy range can help you prevent it. On the other hand, if you’re overweight or obese now, adjusting your diet and regular exercise can help you lose extra pounds. A study from the Cancer Research explains that obesity increases cancer risk because high caloric diet turns off expression of a key hormone in the intestine. This leads to the deactivation of tumor suppressor pathway. Get support from loved ones, join the gym, jog every day, exercise with your friends, options are numerous.
7. Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices don’t just add more flavor to your food, they have numerous benefits for your health. Throughout the history, herbs and spices were used for their medicinal purposes and ability to treat a wide array of diseases. Thanks to their cancer-fighting compounds, it comes as no wonder why they can help you stay healthy and cancer-free. For instance, a growing body of evidence suggests that spices and lower cancer risk and affect tumor behavior.
8. Avoid Sugar
Got sweet tooth? Everyone likes sweets, desserts, but all that sugar is not good for you. It is needless to mention sweetened beverages and other foods also contain an abundance of sugar. That said, dietary sugars are associated with the increased risk of colon cancer through their impact on plasma glucose levels.
9. Avoid Or Limit Alcohol Intake
While one glass of wine is beneficial for heart health, drinking too much alcohol is detrimental to your health and wellbeing. Evidence suggests that alcohol consumption is strongly linked to increased risk of colon cancer. Here, liquor intake has the worst impact. To protect your health and lower colon cancer risk, you should limit alcohol intake or avoid it entirely.
10. Take It Easy With Red And Processed Meat
All scientists agree that consumption of processed meat is a major contributor to colon cancer. Red meat, particularly if pan fried, can also increase the risk of this severe disease. The best way to prevent colon cancer is to avoid consumption of processed meats entirely. However, if you can’t live without red meat, then you should lower the intake and try out different, healthier cooking methods.
11. Get Enough Vitamin D And Calcium
Calcium and Vitamin D aren’t just important for the health of your bones and joints. Deficiency in the sunshine vitamin is strongly linked to incidence of colon cancer. On the other hand, one study discovered that participants who consumed larger amounts of calcium had decreased risk of developing colon cancer. Eat recommended daily values of calcium and Vitamin D, both your bones and colon will thank you.
High prevalence of colon cancer is strongly associated with unhealthy lifestyle, as well as other factors of course. Making certain lifestyle changes presented in this post can help you lower your risk of getting this disease.