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    Eating to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

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    Proper nutrition and diet are important in helping to prevent many diseases and colorectal cancer is no exception. In the fight against this disease, nutritional guidelines include eating less saturated fat and getting more nutrients from the food you eat rather than from supplements.

    Dietary Fat and Colorectal Cancer

    Dietary fat from red and processed meats may be a contributors to the colorectal cancer-causing process. High fat consumption increases the amount of substances that are released into the digestive tract called bile acids. Bile acids help break down fats. When they get into the colon, the large amount of bile acids may be converted to secondary bile acids, which could promote tumor growth, especially of the cells that line the colon.

    Antioxidants and Colorectal Cancer

    Another substance that is being studied to see where it fits in the fight against colorectal and other cancers is the antioxidant. Antioxidants work by bolstering the body's defenses against potentially dangerous substances called free radicals.

    Free radicals are one of the by-products of oxygen use by every cell in our body. These substances damage the body's cells through oxidation, the same process that rusts metal and turns butter rancid. Oxidation has also been shown to contribute to heart disease, cataracts, aging, and infections.

    The body's cells have a natural defense strategy against free radicals and are able to repair the damage caused by them. However antioxidants, such as selenium and beta-carotene, may help reinforce this protection. However, in clinical trials, neither of these agents has been shown to reduce cancer development. Studies have shown that antioxidants are best taken as foods as opposed to supplements. Some examples of antioxidants are carotene, beta-carotene, and lutein. Foods that are good sources of antioxidants include fruits, vegetables, and certain types of tea.

    Other Vitamins and Minerals

    Folic Acid. Some studies suggest that folic acid may play a role in the fight against cancer while others show and increased risk for some types.  More studies are needed. It's already known to be essential in forming new cells and tissues as well as keeping red blood cells healthy. The most common sources of folic acid are citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables, especially spinach.

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