The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently concluded that processed meat is a Group 1 carcinogen, due to its role in causing colorectal cancer in humans. Your colon is vital to your health, as it prepares bodily waste for elimination. The colon also contains a healthy mix of bacteria that is important in order to maintain optimal health.
Colon Cancer is Preventable
Colorectal cancer is fatal, but can be prevented. Research has shown that 90% of cancer cases are due to one’s environment and lifestyle. Some of these factors include diet, tobacco use, infections, stress, and pollution. Half of all colorectal cancer cases can be prevented with a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
Eat Fresh Produce
Vegetables have antioxidants, such as magnesium, that are hard to find elsewhere. Research has shown that magnesium greatly decreases the risk of colorectal cancer, due to its ability to stop the resistance of insulin.
Phytochemicals, which are also found in vegetables, are strong cancer fighters. Fiber in vegetables has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of colon cancer. Fiber can also be found in prunes, which are known to help healthy bacteria grow in the large intestines. Cruciferous vegetables also contain sulforaphane, which has been found to suppress the growth of tumors derived from colon cancer.
Increase Your Levels of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is beneficial to the immune system, which makes a deficiency a risk factor for cancer. Vitamin D has been known to have anti-tumor properties, which reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. An optimal range of Vitamin D levels are 50-70 ng/ml. This can be accomplished with regular sun exposure or a Vitamin D3 supplement.
Avoid Processed Meats
Processed meats are meats that have been preserved. These meats include ham, bacon, pepperoni, deli meat, etc. The harmful additives to these meats are a strong carcinogen.
Red meat, in particular, increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 24 percent. While the red meat itself may not be the issue, the cooking methods used along with its original source are likely to be an issue. Red meat that is cooked at a high temperature creates carcinogenic compounds. Meats should be organically raised, grass-fed, and lightly cooked.
Exercise lowers your insulin levels, kills cancer cells, and improves blood circulation, which helps move immune cells throughout the body, destroying precancerous cells. Exercise also helps prevent obesity, which has been linked to many cancers. Losing excess belly fat is very important in cancer prevention, because belly fat has been shown to increase the risk of colon cancer, despite your body weight.
Avoid Alcohol and Smoking
Drinking more than one drink per day has been associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer. It is best to avoid alcohol altogether. Smoking can cause many types of cancers and is best to be avoided.
Add Garlic to your Diet
Studies show that garlic kills cancer cells, and those who eat it regularly have a lower risk of colorectal and stomach cancer. Garlic also improves the function of the immune system, which can help stave off cancer. Garlic is most effective when consumed raw.
After the age of 50, people with an average risk of colorectal cancer are advised to have a colonoscopy every ten years. However, people who live a healthy lifestyle and do not have genetic factors, may choose to forgo these tests. People with a higher risk likely see these as important diagnostic tests.
Although colon cancer is slow-growing, it is very fatal, so it is important to detect it early. Less invasive tests are available, but often do not produce reliable results. Colonoscopies can find young polyps that can be removed immediately, which can be life-saving.
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