In addition to screening, the most important factor protecting against colon cancer is within your control – and that’s living a healthy lifestyle. Even if you have a strong family history of cancer or fall into a high-risk group, you can reduce your risk of getting cancer by choosing healthy behaviors, including these strategies:
- If you smoke cigarettes, stop. Tobacco is linked to not only colon cancer, but a variety of other diseases as well.
- Eliminate or reduce saturated, animal fats, especially red meat. Why? The breakdown of fats and animal proteins causes free radicals, which damage cells and can trigger cancer. Also, consuming meat and saturated fats creates an unhealthy balance of bacteria in your gut, increasing inflammatory bacteria linked to cancer.
- Eat a diet high in plant-based foods (beans, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits). This lowers your risk of getting colon cancer by increasing good (anti-inflammatory) bacteria in your gut (probiotics).
- Eat plenty of gut-protective fiber, which is easier to do if you eat a healthy plant-based diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods (think foods that are in their natural forms, rather than refined grains and processed convenience foods.) Fiber helps eliminate potential carcinogens and toxic substances out of the body more quickly, and helps maintain a healthy weight (which also lowers cancer risk).
- Exercise daily to lower inflammation and keep things moving well in your gut.
Inspired to get a head start on protecting yourself against colon cancer? At Academic Medical Associates, we can help you successfully prevent colon cancer by connecting you with the best screening method for your personal history, and help you successfully start and maintain lifestyle changes proven to prevent disease. Contact us today!