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Colon Cancer – Nutrition & Lifestyle Considerations

In this blog I am going to look at some of the natural approaches to helping prevent colon cancer but also some interesting natural methods of supporting the body if you have already been diagnosed with colon cancer.

Digestive Health is something that affects us all, whether it’s a bad reaction to a food we have eaten or on-going symptoms such as diarrhoea, constipation and bloating. The occurrence of diseases such as colon cancer does not happen overnight, there are a number of factors that can lead to it, whether or not you are genetically predisposed to it, your nutrition and lifestyle choices can have a major impact on your chances of contracting colon cancer. Colon cancer is now said to be the third most prevalent form of cancer almost on par with lung cancer, with incidences continuing to rise.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

A study published by the British Medical Journal Found that five diet and lifestyle modifications could lower the risk of developing colon cancer.

1. Nutrition

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, pushing to 10 servings per day.
  • Avoid processed and fried foods and anything with refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, wheat or corn.
  • Establish a good balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fats.
  • Reduce red meat consumption.

2. Exercise

  • Exercises at least 30 minutes per day.
  • Short Burst resistance training has been shown to be most effective by research.

3. Ditch Smoking

4. Limit alcohol

  • Alcohol is abrasive to the digestive tract.
  • Also contains sugars that can add fuel to cancer development.

5. Get in shape

  • Waist size is directly related to the risk of developing cancer as well as other inflammatory diseases.
  • Excess abdominal fat causes the release of dangerous signalling chemicals that promote further weight gain and cancer. (1)

Colon specific studies

There are some basics that will provide a foundation for preventing cancer, but what specifically can we do to help prevent colon cancer and what has been shown to help those diagnosed with cancer. Below I am going to review a number of different nutrients/foods/lifestyle factors that have been shown to have a positive effect against colon cancer.

  1. Short duration sleep increases colon cancer risk. (2)
  2. Optimal selenium and omega-3’s help prevent colon cancer. (3)
  3. Blueberries and mango been shown to be helpful in preventing colon cancer. (4, 5)
  4. Quercetin and curcumin found in high levels in onions and turmeric shown to reduce colon cancer risk.
  5. Substances in green tea, olives and ginger may help to reduce proliferation of cancer. (6, 7, 9)
  6. Omega-3 helps reduce colon cancer risk. (8)
  7. Nine studies show a dramatic drop in colon cancer rates when levels of vitamin D are increased. (10)
  8. Trans fats can increase the risk of colon cancer by 86%.
  9. Red and processed meats raise colon cancer risk whilst increased fibre lowers it.

Here is a brief usable summary

  • Include lots of fruits and vegetables, choosing a variety of colours.
  • Use lots of herbs and spices, especially turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Avoid all processed meats and meats containing nitrates.
  • Eat a fibre rich diet, including beans, lentils and brown rice providing they have been soaked and cooked properly.
  • Limit red meats, especially those with low hydrochloric acid (HCl) levels. HCl levels lower as we age and often due to stress. An HCl test is a good place to start.
  • Work on your sleep health, aiming for an uninterrupted 7-8hrs sleep.
  • Do some form of physical activity daily, especially resistance training.
  • Consider supplementing omega-3, or at least get tested to find out your omega 3:6 ratio.
  • Get your vitamin D levels checked and up to speed.

References

http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c5504.full
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20936662
http://www.aacr.org/home/public–media/aacr-press-releases.aspx?d=1681
http://www.naturalnews.com/021951_colon_cancer_blueberries.html
http://www.naturalnews.com/027992_mango_breast_cancer.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21397027
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19531649
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909
Olive Fruit Extracts Inhibit Proliferation and Induce Apoptosis in HT-29 Human Colon Cancer Cells, The Journal of Nutrition 136:2553-2557, October 2006
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20473927

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