Currently, experts still have no answer for the exact cause of colon cancer. Some studies are ongoing and observing how certain changes in DNA may trigger the change of normal cell to become cancerous cell. However, this doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do to prevent it! There are some effective ways to reduce your risk and prevent this bowel cancer naturally.
Since colon itself is crucial part of bowel in your digestive system, this means that what you eat may have a significant effect. And many experts believe that good diet will be so helpful to reduce the risk of colon cancer. But how your diet should go?
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When it comes to diet to prevent bowel cancer (both colon and rectal cancer), there are two main keys you need to concern, high in fiber and low in fat (especially animal based fat such as red meat).
Diet high in fiber
Fiber is so essential to help make your digestive system work more easily. Plenty of dietary fiber is important to improve the movement of foods you eat through the digestive track.
But, does fiber help lower the risk of colon cancer?!
According to some studies, countries with a poor fiber intake tend to have rates of colon cancer higher than countries with a high fiber intake. Therefore for many years, experts believe that fiber may help prevent the occurrence of cancerous growth in the bowel.
There are many theories to explain the protective effects of fiber for preventing colon cancer, these include:
- Fiber plays a key role to help make the stool move easier through colon and rectum, so thus you will have an easy bowel movement. On the other hand, you are more likely to have constipation or become hardly in passing the stool in a bowel movement if you have too low dietary fiber. In other words, fibers can significantly help waste products move and travel easier through the bowel.
- To help maintain your weight since eating foods high in fiber can help make you full longer. And it’s thought that having healthy weight can help reduce the risk, too.
- Some fibers can help carry bile acids (cancer-triggering agent) through the bowel more easily and quickly.
Other numerous benefits from eating adequate fiber include:
- To help keep your LDL under control. Some studies found that your dietary fiber may help reduce the absorption of your dietary bad cholesterol.
- To help improve blood circulation since diet high in fiber is also good to maintain your blood pressure!
But other studies show that fiber may not help as significant as we think before. For instance, a cohort study found that dietary fiber might help, but it had very little. This suggests that dietary fiber is not the only one – other lifestyle factors may have an effect, too.
However whether or not fiber has a significant role in reducing the risk of bowel cancer, you need plenty of fiber from your daily diet to keep your digestive system healthy in long term.
Diet low in fat
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Research suggests that both eating less red meat and processed meat may help, too.
If your diet high in fat (eating more than 90 grams of red meat and processed meat), you should cut down to 70 grams, according the recommendation from the Department of Health.
Red meat is good in taste and therefore we can easily find it in many foods in this modern living. Though is high in calories, but it is also high in minerals and protein. In general, it also can be a part of your healthy diet.
But the problem comes when you eat it a lot. Too much eating both red meat and processed meat may raise the risk of bowel cancer!
Red meat includes lamb, pork, beef, venison, veal, and goat. And for processed meat, as the name implies it refers to meats that have been processed and preserved by salting, smoking, or/and adding preservatives such as salami, ham, bacon, and sausages.
There is adequate scientific evidence from research that people with regular exercise are less likely to have cancers, including colon cancer. It may help reduce the risk of womb and breast cancer, too.
Many studies have been done to observe the link between exercise and preventing colon cancer naturally. These studies find that exercise probably reduce the risk of the disease by about 25 percent.
With other lifestyle approaches such as healthy diet and maintaining weight, the effect in reducing the risk can be more significant. But when exercise may help for preventing cancer of colon, it may not work significantly on the risk of rectal cancer.
If exercise does help, how does it work?
Unfortunately, there is still no clearly answer. But experts theorize that exercise works preventing colon cancer by maintaining your weight. In fact, many patients of this cancer are individuals with obesity.
Furthermore, exercise can improve and reduce some abdominal discomforts such as bowel inflammation, bloating and constipation.
It is also a good stress controller. The link between stress and cancer is not fully understood yet. But if your stress is out of control, you are more likely to drink more alcohol and smoking, other risk factors for colon cancer.
Stress may also weaken your immune system. And poor immune system could help cancerous cells to start growing more easily.
With all of these health benefits, it’s suggested adults exercise for at least 2.5 hours of moderate- exercise of aerobic activity (such as fast walking or cycling) every week.
According to many studies, being obese may increase the risk of colon cancer. In fact, the disease is more common in people with obesity, as noted before. If your weight does have an effect, how does it affect your risk?
This issue is not fully understood yet, but experts believe that excessive fat tissue may affect the production of certain hormone levels that increases the risk of developing cancer in the bowel.
Even maintaining weight may also help reduce the risk of other health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancers of kidney and pancreas. What else?