What to Eat to Prevent Colon Cancer

Posted by Kayla Phillips on

Your colon needs the right amount of omega 3-fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium and flavonoids to prevent tumors from growing.

Dietary fiber is also essential as it promotes regular bowel movement and helps limit bacteria build up. 

Although scientific studies seem conflicting on what you should and shouldn't eat for colon cancer prevention, there is one constant: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is good for you. There is no such thing as a cancer prevention diet, but there are things you can eat to reduce your personal risk of developing colon cancer, even if you have a strong family history of the disease.

Phillips Pharmacy healthy diet

What Is a Healthy Diet?
The term "healthy diet" is subjective. To some people, it may mean ordering a smaller diet drink or adding a spinach salad to their fried chicken. The fact is, a healthy diet is a well-balanced diet that incorporates more than food selections—the cooking and preservation methods may impact your cancer risk, too.1

Building Yo
ur Plate

Regardless of what meal you are about to consume (breakfast, lunch or dinner), your plate should be heavy on the fruits and vegetables, light on the animal proteins and fats. The American Cancer Society's guidelines suggest eating at least two-and-one-half cups of fruits and vegetables (that's combined servings) daily to decrease your risk of cancer. If you fill your plate full of fruits or vegetables, you will have less room for the fats and animal proteins.

Altering Lifestyle to Mirror the Healthy Diet
If you smoke or drink alcohol, your body may require more nutrients than a non-smoker or non-drinker. Studies show that smoking can deplete your body of vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant.  Antioxidants help reduce your colon cancer risk by sweeping out the free radicals (pollution, cellular waste) in your body. Heavy alcohol use can deplete the amount of folate (one of the B vitamins) that you absorb from healthy foods. Folate deficiency has been linked to an increased instance of colon cancer.

Eat the Real Deal
You can find almost every micronutrient (think minerals, vitamins) available in a pill form nowadays. However, it's not just the micronutrients in healthy foods that matter. It’s the synergy of nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants — basically, the food as a whole — that helps fight cancer cells.​

A number of scientific studies and trials have demonstrated that taking large quantities of supplements, such as beta-carotene or calcium, in an effort to combat cancer risk can be counterproductive. Some of these trials, especially those containing beta carotene, showed an increased risk of developing cancer while taking these man-made supplements.

The safest and most economic way to get all of your antioxidants, phytochemicals, and nutrients is by eating the whole, natural, plant-based food — largely unchanged from when it was harvested. Wash the vegetables and fruits thoroughly, and enjoy the skins that are edible as well — this is where the fiber is stashed.

Mix It Up
Get the most benefit out of your diet by incorporating a healthy variety of foods. Try to avoid eating the same fruits, vegetables, and grains repeatedly. Each type (and color) of healthy food has its own micronutrients that are specific to that food group.

  • Green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and broccoli, are full of natural lutein, vitamin E, beta-carotene and calcium.
  • Orange fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, cantaloupes, and pumpkin, contain natural beta carotene.
  • Tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit contain lycopene.
  • Almonds, mangoes and safflower oils contain natural vitamin E.
  • Fish, oranges, cereals, poultry, and many other foods contain vitamin C
  • Rice, wheat, and Brazil nuts are a healthy source of selenium.

You cannot overdose on micronutrients, antioxidants, and minerals by eating them in their natural food state. Try adding one or two fruits or vegetables to your meals at a time, making healthy foods a permanent part of your diet.

Cooking Methods
When you cook meat over high temperatures (think broiling, grilling, and frying), compounds are released into the meat. The two compounds released are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). They have known carcinogens and have been linked to an increased incidence of colon and rectal cancers.

 PAHs can also be found in cured or smoked foods, such as ham or bacon. 
You don't have to toss your backyard grill, but it may be healthier to slow-cook foods at lower temperatures, stew, or slowly roast animal proteins.

Vitamins & Supplements: Using vitamins to prevent cancer is called chemoprevention. Antioxidants have been studied for their effects in cancer prevention and risk reduction. They may defend against cell damage caused by unstable molecules, known as free radicals. Beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins C, E, and A, and other substances are antioxidants, and are found in tea, red wine, and chokeberries or Anthocyanin-rich extract.

Aspirin has been linked to some studies in cancer prevention. This is because aspirin can block the enzyme cyclooxygenase2 (COX-2), which is produced by many tumors. A Recent study by the University of Oxford found that 75 mg. of aspirin taken daily for five years lowered the risk of colorectal cancer by 24 per cent and the risk of dying from colon cancer by 35 per cent. There are side effects associated with an aspirin plan.

  • Calcium, when taken with vitamin D, is thought to be linked to cancer
    Phillips Pharmacy QC Calcium with Vitamin D
    prevention. Daily use of calcium carbonate, resulted in a 15 per cent reduction in colorectal adenomatous polyp recurrence. Calcium is commonly found in dark green vegetables, some grains, legumes, and nuts. Calcium supplements, when taken daily may protect against colon polyps for lactose sensitive individuals.
  • Curcumin has been studied for its effects in cancer prevention. Curcumin is a type of ginger commonly used in Indian food. It has great anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. The Study suggests taking 3.6 grams of curcumin daily.
  • Also eating curries that rich in turmeric are great as well.
  • Garlic is a bulb that may reduce the risk of developing cancer, particularly gastrointestinal tract cancers. Garlic contains antibacterial properties, and may be able to prevent the formation and activation of cancer-causing substances, and boost DNA repair.
  • Folic Acid and B Vitamins may also aid in colon cancer prevention. Recent research suggests a deficiency in folic acid has been linked to cancer.
  • Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids-Omega-3 PUFA’s are healthy fatty acids and may be linked to colon cancer prevention. They are predominantly found in fish and nuts.

 About Author


At Phillips Pharmacy Online our vision is to be an integral part in transforming the way that healthcare is delivered in Barbados & beyond. We are a group of passionate people working hard to make a big positive impact on the lives of people. We work with Doctors, Pharmacists, Pharmaceutical Suppliers and most importantly, with You, to improve the health of all.

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