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Although there are many risk factors for cancer and disease that we have absolutely no control over, there are some simple things we can do to minimize the risk factors that are controllable.
I have a huge hereditary risk factor for developing colon cancer in my life. If I get cancer, I’m not going to think I did something wrong, or that I should have done something more.
I’m going to think – wow, I’m so glad I did everything I knew to give my body the best chance to try to fight this.
I don’t live to avoid cancer. I live to enjoy each day fully, with energy and vitality.
Anyone can get cancer. In the end, what matters is how much we enjoy our lives. So find something today you feel grateful for, some piece of beauty in this world. And smile.
Back to those controllable factors – here are 7 simple things you can do to help build overall colon health:
This one always tops this list of recommendations for colon health, and it’s pretty easy to understand that a regular intake of fiber helps the movement through your colon smooth and steady.
For more details on the cancer-protective effects of fiber, this article from PCRM is a good synopsis.
A couple important considerations: Get a balance of soluble and insoluble fiber from different food sources. For those with IBS, they should usually cook vegetables and fruit to avoid intestinal pain.
2. Calcium + Vitamin D
Some studies have shown that calcium and vitamin D have a potential protective effect against colorectal cancer. The National Cancer Institute has a great info sheet on Calcium and Cancer Prevention.
From WebMD: “Dehydration is one of the most common causes of chronic constipation.”
There are several reasons that regular exercise and activity can be beneficial to colon health, reduced risk for disease and better survival rates from colon cancer. The National Cancer Institute has a great fact sheet about Physical Activity and Cancer.
5. Limit (or eliminate??) red meat, processed meats
While research isn’t yet conclusive, and hasn’t shown a direct cause and effect, the American Institute for Cancer Research thinks there’s enough clues to make the recommendation to avoiding red meat and processed meats. They say in their fact sheet that, “Red meat contains the heme form of iron. This compound can damage the lining of the colon” and “red meat stimulates the production in the gut of N-nitroso compounds, which are cancer-causing agents.”
The AICR also says of processed meat: “The actual processing of meat often involves nitrites that may form cancer-causing N-nitroso compounds. Processing may also involve smoking, which leads to formation of cancer-causing PAHs; and adding high amounts of salt, which can promote development of stomach cancer.”
The World Health Organization also recommends limiting red and processed meats to minimize cancer risk. Their Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat says, “The strongest, but still limited, evidence for an association with eating red meat is for colorectal cancer. There is also evidence of links with pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.” Also “The IARC Working Group concluded that eating processed meat causes colorectal cancer. An association with stomach cancer was also seen, but the evidence is not conclusive.”
Also, eliminating red and processed meats helps save the healthy of our planet, and the lives of animals
6. No smoking
Many good reasons for this one. Also increases your risk factor for colon cancer.
7. Colon Cleanse
Extreme cleanses and colon hydrotherapy are not necessary to be healthy, but an occasional tune-up of eating lots of healthful foods rich in fiber, water, nutrients and antioxidants while minimizing incoming toxins can be great for your colon health.
If you want to cleanse your colon, try my guided vegan cleanse program to show you exactly what to eat for a week so that you can get the nutrients you need to nourish your body while you cleanse.
The good news…
This study suggests that dark chocolate or cocoa could be a protective factor against colon cancer… yum!
Good thing I included a chocolate treat at the end of the cleanse program for ya!