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    Eating to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

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    Other Vitamins and Minerals continued...

    While there seems to be some potential benefit in consuming foods with folic acid as part of a regular healthy diet, studies do not show any anti-cancer benefit from taking folic acid supplements. In fact, some studies suggest that taking folic acid supplements may slightly increase the risk of cancer.

    Calcium and Vitamin D. Recent studies have suggested that these two substances may not only strengthen bones, but may also help fight off colon cancer. Good sources of calcium include: milk, cheese, yogurt, salmon, sardines, and dark-green leafy vegetables such as kale, mustard, and collard greens. Sources of vitamin D include salmon, sardines, fortified cow's milk, egg yolks, and chicken livers -- and don't forget the sun. Twenty minutes of sun before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m. is an excellent source of vitamin D.

    Fiber and Your Colon

    Fiber has been thought to be a powerful weapon against cancer. Though there is conflicting research as to whether or not fiber has protective effects against colorectal cancer, there is evidence that fiber intake improves overall health. Good sources of fiber include: whole-grain cereals and breads, prunes, berries, kidney beans and other legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, and brown rice.

    Although it’s best to get the fiber you need from food, fiber supplements offer another source. Examples  include psyllium and methylcellulose. Anytime you increase your fiber intake, do it slowly to help prevent gas and cramping. It’s also important to drink enough liquids.

    Phytochemicals

    Recently discovered to be helpful in the fight against cancer, phytochemicals are non-nutrient substances such a flavonoids, polyphenols, and terpenes which are found in a variety of plant foods including tomatoes, citrus fruits, berries, peppers, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, and soy beans.

    Healthy Eating Guidelines for Cancer Prevention

    You can learn to eat a healthy, cancer-fighting diet by following these guidelines from the American Cancer Society:

    • Choose many of the foods you eat from plant sources.
    • Eat whole grains rather than refined whenever you can.
    • Limit your red and processed meats.
    • Be physically active; achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
    • Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages.

     

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on June 22, 2016
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