Colon Cancer Diet
Fibre, Fibre, Fibre

A colon cancer diet has definite benefits. Colon cancer affects a significant proportion of the population in some form every year. If detected in its early stages this cancer is relatively curable, however despite recent improvements in screening, diagnosis often occurs too late. 

Genetics may play a role in the disease, however research indicates that as many as 80% of all occurrences can be explained by dietary factors alone. Fortunately, there are many dietary habits and nutrients that may help to prevent this devastating and potentially deadly disease.

Most bowel cancers develop from non-cancerous growths of tissue called polyps, and it is this gradual nature of the disease that indicates environmental factors are possibly to blame. Tumours may form when the cells of the colon - the lower part of the digestive tract - is exposed to chemicals or carcinogenic material. This exposure can cause damage to the cellular DNA, leading to abnormal or uncontrolled growth of cells over time.

There are very strong links between
 diet and colon cancer

While no cancer is completely preventable, you can certainly lower your risk of developing bowel cancer by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.  It is especially important to avoid processed meats, pickled foods, fried foods, excess salt, sugar, alcohol and red meat. There is some indication that a diet high in these foods and products leads to a greater risk of developing bowel cancer along with many other chronic health complications.

As always, maintaining a healthy body weight and incorporating regular exercise into the daily routine is essential. But perhaps the biggest preventative factor is fibre. Fibre is indigestible plant material such as cellulose, lignin and pectin, found in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans.

There are two types of fibre; soluble and insoluble and the best sources are fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Given that most Australians eat only half the amount of fruit and vegetables recommended for good health, it is important to enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods, with the majority of the diet being sourced from plant material. 

The colour of our fruits and vegetables is especially important, as it is the carotenoids and phytochemicals that give them their striking and distinctive colours, flavours and smells.  They provide essential antioxidants and complex compounds that act to remove harmful free radicals and other potentially carcinogenic toxins from the body and are essential for good health.

Increase Fibre Intake = Increase Water Intake

With a colon cancer diet, water is especially important for proper digestion. Extra effort should be taken to increase fibre and water intake together, otherwise you run the risk of blocking the plumbing – in other words constipation! It’s also a great way to control the appetite and boost energy levels! 

We know that vitamin C, vitamin E and Omega 3 fish oil have powerful health benefits, and many people may argue that these are readily available as supplements in capsule form, replacing the need to source fresh foods. However research has indicated that these essential components are more effective when consumed naturally in whole foods. 

If you haven't already, feel free to visit our breast cancer diet page.

A healthy balanced colon cancer diet should contain:

  • plenty of vegetables, legumes (dried beans, peas or lentils)
  • nuts, fruits, fresh fish and wholegrain cereals
  • breads, rice, pasta & noodles
  • moderate amounts of lean meat, poultry
  • full-fat milks, yoghurts and cheeses

Processed and fried foods should be avoided at all costs. Cancers of the bowel are predominately attributed to the western diet and if you have any family history or are concerned, seek yearly screening in an effort to detect any changes early. Also when possible try and choose organically grown fruits and vegetables including cranberries, blueberries, grapes, extra virgin olive oil, onions, garlic, leeks, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, probiotic yogurt, peanuts, turmeric, ginger, soy foods, grapefruit, green tea and red or purple grape juice…also known as wine!

Thank you for visiting our colon cancer diet page. Please visit our homepage for more info about this site or to look around our other diet pages – just visit the links to the left.

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