When it comes to reducing your risk of developing colon cancer, there is a lot of good news. This is a type of cancer that usually develops slowly, which means that there is time to take steps to prevent it or at least to detect it before it becomes serious.
One of the best ways to prevent colon cancer is through a healthy diet.
Eat more vegetable and fruits
If you eat three or more servings of vegetables a day, you can lower you risk of developing colon cancer. It is not clear why, but it appears that the folic acid in vegetables helps keep ceels healthy. Generally speaking, a serving is about half a cup of chopped vegetables or a cup of leafy greens.
Fruits and veggies supply a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, and also contain cancer-fighting substances known as phytochemicals.
After convening an expert panel that reviewed hundreds of epidemiological studies on dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, the American Institute of Cancer Research found overwhelming evidence that fruit and vegetable consumption reduces the risk of cancer.
Eat more bread, beans and bananas
Experts recommend eating more of the types of foods that will fill you up, while at the same time, providing a variety of vitamins, minerals, protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber. Such foods include whole grains found in breads, cereals, pasta, and rice; legumes, such as beans and peas; plantains, such as bananas; and roots and tubers, such as sweet potatoes.
Look for foods that have been minimally processed and that contain few refined sugars; such foods are generally the best sources of nutrients and other beneficial substances. For example, whole-grains wheat breadis better than white, and bran cereal is better than cerals with frosting or that taste like cereal.
Eat less red meat
If you have more than one serving of red meat(beef, pork, lamb or venison) per day, you are at increased risk of colon cancer. Meat appears to contain substances that can turn normal cell cancerous. The best way to eat less meat per week is to find substitutes: chicken, fish, pasta or vegetables.
Cook meats safely
The way that meats are cooked is also important. Known or suspected carcinogens are formed when meat or fish is exposed directly to flame or intense heat, as typically happens when food is broiled, roasted, fried or grilled. High temperatures and flames induce chemical reactions as oil and fat drip down, forming new compounds that splatter back up and stick to the surface of the meat. Epidemiological studies have reported that people who frequently eat meats cooked at high temperatures may increase their risk for stomach and colorectal cancers.
Fortunately, this particular cancer risk can be controlled and should be kept in perspective. It is important that foods, and especially meats, be cooked thoroughly to kill any bacterial for people trying to reduce their risk of heart disease, eating broiled or grilled food is often recommended. To reduce your risk of cancer,don’t regularly eat meat that has been overcooked or charred. Eating such foods on an occasional basis won’t greatly increase your risk for stomach and colorectal cancers.
There are other strategies as well. Grill vegetables instead of meat. (Because the vegetables don’t drip fat, cooking them doesn’t create the compounds discussed above.) Choose lean cuts of meat or trim off the fat and skin before cooking. Turn the meat often while cooking, and use tongs or a spatula, which does not puncture the meat.
Choose broiling or grilling, where drippings fall away from the meat and may not splatter up as much, over pan frying-where the meat is in direct contact with both high heat and fat drippings, resulting in the formation of more carcinogens on the meat surface. Or precooked meats by boiling, steaming or microwaving to lessen the amount of time spent grilling.
Limit your intake of cured meats
Processed cold cuts, hams and hotdogs contain nitrites and nitrates as preservatives. Some studies report that diets high in cured meats may increase the risk of colorectal cancer, but others disagree.
So what should you do? The strategy best calculated to reduce your risk of cancer would be to eat cured meats only in moderation. It is unlikely that the occasional hotdog or ham sandwich will materially affect your cancer risk.
Limit your alcohol intake
Alcohol consumption moderately increases the chance of developing colorectal cancer.