With March being Colon Cancer Awareness Month, as a two time thriver I feel a responsibility to share what colon cancer is, how we can get it and what we can do to try to not get it. This third post in Colon Cancer Awareness Month is meant to guide you in making healthy food choices that will enrich your overall health and help to keep disease at bay.
There are parts of our food that can help decrease the risk of colon cancer. These include fibre, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and certain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals; but studies show that the intake of food components called phytochemicals have the most powerful benefits. In the hope of reducing the risk of colon cancer it is important to know that whole foods can protect our bodies. It is impossible to name each vegetable and fruit that contains the thousands of micronutrients and phytochemicals that often works together to exert their anti-cancer properties. But, what we can give you is a little guide to get you started on your path to healthy eating.
Fibre is very important to maintaining a healthy colon. Some examples of high fibre foods include: Beans, Lentils, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Berries, Pears, Apples, Avocados, Brown Rice, and Almonds. They are helpful because they help other foods move through your digestive system more easily. The fibre also keeps your bowels healthy and helps prevent digestive problems.
Good Food Sources and How They Help
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are key to our overall health. It is important that they be eaten in a very specific ratio of between 2:1 to 4:1 (Omega-6:Omega-3). In our society we tend to have significantly more Omega-6 in our systems due to the amount of processed foods we eat. When this balance is off we gain weight and lose health. Foods that we can eat to increase our Omega-3 fatty acids are: Flaxseed, Walnuts, Sardines, and Salmon. They help us to maintain our health by reducing inflammation and possibly helping lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 can also help decrease the amount of fat in your liver, which is a major part of the body detoxification system and is key to good health.
Antioxidants are another important part of our overall health and are known to help reduce the risk of cancer. Foods that we can eat to increase our level of antioxidants include: carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, apricots, almonds, spinach, sweet potato, avocado, sunflower seeds, salmon, sardines, dark-green leafy vegetables — and don’t forget the sun (for increased Vitamin D). Antioxidants are so important because every day as we eat, put on skin care products, drink alcohol and continually, without meaning to or knowing it, make free radicals in our bodies, we do damage to our cells. What are free radicals? They are electrons in our body that don’t have a partner (which is really important to them). Unpartnered, they interfere with normal cell function. The antioxidants in whole foods clean up the free radicals in our body by giving them a new partner.
Phytochemicals are non-nutrient substances which are found in a variety of plant foods. Foods that we can eat to increase our intake of phytonutrients include: colorful fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, tea, whole grains and many spices. Phytonutrients hold antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They may also enhance immunity and intercellular communication, repair DNA damage from exposure to toxins, and detoxify carcinogens in the body.
There are things in life that we can’t control, but we can control what we put in our body. Choosing foods that prevent disease and eliminating foods that cause disease is one way we can take control of our health and be the healthiest person we can be.