7 Foods That Help Prevent Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is a type of neoplasm very common in Nigeria. For women, it ranks second among the most frequent cancers in the South and Southeast, behind only non-melanoma skin tumors. In the Midwest, North, and Northeast, it occupies the third position.
This type of cancer includes tumors that can affect the colon itself, which is a part of the large intestine, and also the rectum, which is the final portion of our digestive tract. Hence, it can also be called colorectal cancer.
One of the ways to prevent this type of cancer is in food. According to several studies, a diet rich in vegetables helps to protect the body from this disease, while some foods of animal origin may increase the risk.
Based on this, here is a list of some of the best foods we can include in our diet to combat colon cancer and some tips to avoid:
1. Fatty fish
Although some foods of animal origin may increase the risk of colon cancer, fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, can help reduce it. This protective action is due to the high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammatory processes linked to the formation of tumors in the intestine.
2. Oats and cereal meal
Oats and cereal meal are very rich in fiber, which facilitates intestinal transit. Thus, the toxins we eat together with food are eliminated faster, reducing the chances that they will cause damage to the DNA of mucosal cells, which could lead to the development of cancer.
3. Olive oil
In addition to its other beneficial properties for our health, olive oil contains omega-3 fatty acid, which is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer by reducing inflammation in the gut.
In addition to providing fiber, black beans, red beans, and kidney beans, all widely consumed in Nigeria, are rich in folic acid.
This substance is a vitamin B complex, also called folate, that helps repair changes in the DNA of the bowel cells, reducing the risk of colon cancer.
5. Fruits and vegetables
As you could imagine, fruits and vegetables could not be off the list. These foods are very high in fiber, which decreases the exposure time of the mucosa to the toxins.
They offer micronutrients that are related to lowering the risk of colon cancer, such as vitamin C, which fights the action of free radicals. Therefore, it is important to consume six to eight servings per day of these foods.
Considering a medium portion, the richest fruits and vegetables in this vitamin are papaya, strawberry, kiwi, cantaloupe, mango, orange, pea pod, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, grape tomato.
6. Cooked tomatoes
Among the fruits that help prevent colorectal cancer, tomato deserves a special highlight. This is because, in addition to providing fiber and vitamin C, it is a source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps repair cell damage caused by free radicals.
When the tomato is subjected to heat, lycopene becomes even more bioavailable, that is, it is more absorbed by the body. It is recommended to heat the tomatoes always on low heat, since temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius can impair the antioxidant activity.
It is worth noting that heat can also destroy other nutrients, so the balance between the raw and cooked versions should be maintained.
Turmeric, also called saffron, is one of the main ingredients of curry, much used in Indian cooking.
It contains a substance called curcumin, which protects the intestine and prevents or slows the development of tumors in that organ.
You can use this seasoning to intensify the flavor of sauces, soups, fish, vegetables and boiled rice.
Foods That May Favor Colon Cancer
Some foods tend to favor inflammatory cellular processes, increasing the risk of colon cancer and other types of neoplasia.
Among them is the red meat (ox, pig, and mutton), whose excessive consumption has been pointed out as a risk factor. In addition, the National Cancer Institute recommends that the weekly intake of these foods be less than 300 grams.
Processed meats usually contain sodium nitrate, a preservative that may be related to the development of tumors. This food group includes bacon, sausage, ham, salami and all meats that have been salted, cured or smoked.
Another food that should be avoided is refined sugar, found in sweets, cakes, and desserts. This ingredient stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, which increases the production of colorectal cancer-related substances.
Lastly, it is worth remembering that colon cancer is treatable and has a good chance of cure when diagnosed early.
Most of these tumors form from benign polyps pre-existing in the large intestine. Thus, one of the ways to prevent cancer is by removing these initial lesions, which can be detected by colonoscopy.
If you have risk factors and had cases of colon cancer in the family, it is worth to follow up.