With all the media sources of information available today, it should come as no surprise to most people that your diet can have a significant impact on either preventing or promoting many health issues. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity are some of the most common, just to name a few. Even cancers can be impacted by dietary choices, so if you have a family history of one of the majors, colorectal cancer, it would be a good idea to reassess how your diet shapes up each day.
As it turns out, a diet higher in foods that promote inflammation increases your risk for developing colon or rectal cancer. That means if you’re regularly partaking of sugar-laden foods and drinks, eating too many overly-processed foods like white bread, or consuming regular servings of red meat, you may be stoking the fire that can lead to cancer cell formation in the lower digestive tract.
The most likely cause of this cancer promotion is due to the persistent inflammation that is produced by eating these types of foods day in and day out. A little here and there may not be as detrimental, but regular consumption seems to be the long-term plan for colon or rectal cancer. Couple that with not eating enough of the good foods that help fight inflammation, such as most fruits and vegetables, and you’re giving your body the one-two punch that it just might not be able to recover from before bad changes start to happen! Chronic inflammation has been linked as a cause at the root of most health problems today.
In a study published online in the American Medical Association’s publication JAMA Oncology, researchers looked at dietary patterns from participants in 2 large, long-term studies. The Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study collected diet data on more than 121,000 people over a 25-year period, hoping to see how food choices affected their health. Researchers then used that information to assign a dietary inflammation score for each person.
From the data that was collected, researchers came up with the following statistics, where there were 2,699 cases of colorectal cancer reported during follow-up. People eating the most inflammatory foods were:
- 37% more likely to develop colon cancer
- 70% more likely to develop rectal cancer
Processed meat, red meats, organ meats, refined flour and sugary drinks were among the foods linked most to cancer-related inflammation. Foods that appeared to reduce inflammation included green leafy vegetables, dark yellow vegetables, whole grains, coffee and fruit juice. It was also noted that those who avoided alcohol in addition to eating a healthy diet had the greatest anti-inflammatory effect.
If you have a family history of these types of cancers, safest bet would be to start making some dietary changes today! Cancer still remains a scary reality for many people, and repeatedly they have said that if they would have known that doing this or eating that would have decreased their risk for ever getting the cancer, they would have done it. Even if it isn’t a 100% guaranteed preventative (and nothing is right now), risk management should still be the goal. So, do yourself a favor and start loading up on your fruits and vegetables and replace some of those less healthier choices with better options. And if you need help in figuring out what type of diet may be best for you, we are always available to wade through the endless sea of information to create the best food plan to keep you fueled, healthy and protected!