When we go about our normal days, sitting at our desks, grabbing lunch with a friend, and choosing to watch a movie in the evening, we may not consider the implications of our choices. An inactive lifestyle and a diet filled with high-fat foods are major players in whether or not we invite cancer cells to grow in our body. We have choices every day and if we want a long, healthy life—free from the pains of cancer—it’s time to start taking those choices seriously.
Attacking The Colon
The colon plays a necessary role in digestion. Food is consumed and broken down into smaller particles in the stomach and then passed into the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed and used. Anything not absorbed is sent to the large intestine where it is stored and eventually passed into the rectum, leaving the body in the form of a stool. But foods that are high in fat content release carcinogens— cancer forming chemicals—into the intestine. This is why high-fat foods are so dangerous to the colon.
Research at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio recently determined that foods high in fat signal the production of cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are able to replicate and enhance the speed at which cancer cells spread and create tumors. Colorectal cancer can grow quietly over the course of eight to ten years before diagnosis. Because our Western society is famous for regularly consuming foods that are high in fat and spending very few hours a week doing a physical activity, colorectal cancer has become the third leading cause of cancer in the United States.
Protecting Your Colon
The research at the Cleveland Clinic went further to block the signals that were alerted from fatty food consumption and the cancer stem cells actually decreased in production. This demonstrates the importance of regularly consuming foods that are high in fiber and low in fat to decrease and prevent cancer from growing in the colon.
Here are the foods you should include in your diet on a regular basis:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole-grain breads
- Fresh fish
- Limited salts and saturated fats
Along with a healthy diet, 3-4 hours per week of intense physical activity is recommended in order to help protect your colon from cancer. But the best way to protect your body from colorectal cancer is to regularly be screened. Contact us today for an appointment. Our doctors at Needham Gastroenterology are here to help you discover the best way to keep you and your colon healthy!