March might be almost over, but it isn’t too late to note that it is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. More than 50,000 people – one every 9.3 minutes – die from colon cancer each year, despite the fact that it’s the most treatable cancer when detected early through proper screening. Olympus, the Colon Cancer Alliance and Colorectal Cancer Coalition, is encouraging all Americans to help beat colon cancer by learning more and committing to be screened for the disease.
The National Cancer Institute estimates that 35 percent of cancer deaths may be linked to dietary factors. In honor of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, check out some new colon cancer fighting food facts below and start to incorporate some of these healthy foods into your own diet.
Meatless Mondays: To lower your chances of colon cancer, stay away from red and processed meats. National Cancer Institute researchers suspect barbecuing and other high-temperature cooking of red and processed meats activate compounds that can induce tumors in the intestine. At least once a week, replace the meat in at least one of your meals with veggies, beans or whole grains.
Turn up the heat: There’s good news, too! It might seem counterintuitive, but the spicy stuff can help your digestive system – garlic, turmeric and jalapeno are colon cancer fighters.
Eat more garlic: Preliminary studies suggest that garlic consumption may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, especially cancers of the GI tract. Why? Garlic contains antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage, and allicin, a sulfur-containing agent that appears to protect colon cells from the toxic effects of cancer-causing agents. Studies suggest that when meat is cooked with garlic, it can actually reduce the production of cancer-causing compounds that would otherwise form when meat is grilled at high temperatures. Try our healthy Garlic Chicken recipe.
Eat the trends: Some of the “hottest” ingredients, like avocado, pomegranate and artichoke, are colon heroes, too. The combination of B group vitamins, vitamins C and D, riboflavin and manganese found in avocados helps maintain a strong immune system. Avocados are also and excellent sources of vitamins A and E and niacin, biotin, pantothenate, thiamin and riboflavin, which help protect against cell damage; continual cell damage is a major contributor to cancer.