Colon cancer is a cancer of the intestine in the colon or rectum. While colon cancer can be attributed to genetic disorders, most cases of colon cancer are due to lifestyle. Poor diet, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol, smoking and being overweight all increase the risk of developing bowel cancer.

The good news is that it is possible to prevent colon cancer from hitting your body in the first place. There is a definite connection between the diet you take and your risk of developing cancer of the colon. Experts estimate that making small, yet important changes in your dietary lifestyle can prevent two-thirds of colon cancer cases.

The key to colon cancer prevention is to eat the right kind of food items at the right intervals of time and minimize the intake of unhealthy food. For example, eat a piece of fruit instead of drinking a glass of processed juice. People who are at an increased risk of colon cancer should, in fact, focus on primarily eating whole grain, fresh fruits and vegetables. Consumption of processed food items and red meat have been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer by a number of studies conducted in the past.

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Here are some diet tips to lower your chances of developing diet related colon cancer:

  • Go green: A major portion of the meals that you consume in a day should incorporate food items derived from plants. The reason being that such meals are rich in fibre, which acts as a brilliant tool for cancer prevention.

  • Plenty of Water: It is important to drink a sufficient quantity of water through the day. Water helps with healthy bowel movements and also prevents against minor side effects that may arise with increased fibre intake, such as bloating, constipation and flatulence. Water also helps dilute the potential concentration of cancer-causing agents and chemicals in the body that are eventually passed outside the body through urine.

  • Folate benefits: There are certain foods with proven benefits in colon cancer prevention. Foods that are rich in folates are particularly helpful in protecting you against this disease. Some examples include spinach, chickpeas and beans.

  • Colour your platter: Try including colourful vegetables to your lunch and dinner platter everyday. It is believed that colourful vegetables are more nutritious and possess all the vitamins and minerals that help ward off cancer risk.

  • Goodbye alcohol: Over the past few years, a number of studies have shown that alcohol consumption is linked with an increased incidence of various types of cancer, including breast, larynx, liver and colon cancer. Avoid completely or keep alcohol consumption to minimal levels.

  • Avoid red meat: Avoiding red or processed meat or limiting its daily intake is considered to be one of the most important prevention steps against colon cancer. While red meat sources such as pork, goat, lamb and beef are rich in protein, they are generally considered unhealthy for bowel health.

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The key is to have as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. It is estimated that more than half of colon cancer cases can be avoided by merely changing our dietary lifestyle. Changing some of these lifestyle habits can also reduce the risk of other types of cancers as well, in addition to serious illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.


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