Gutbliss Reader: My family has a strong history of colon cancer. I’m up to date with regular colonoscopy, but is there anything else I can do to decrease my risk? -Rebecca
An important statistic to know is that only about 5% of all colon cancer is hereditary. The other 95% can be prevented with lifestyle practices. The most important dietary habit to promote a healthy gut, microbial balance, and in turn help protect against colon cancer, is:
Eat more plants; eat less meat. Focus on plants that are high in resistant starch and inulin, as well as leafy greens. While meat can be a part of a healthy diet, if you consume too much, it can crowd out fiber-rich, nutrient-dense plant foods that are vital for gut health and colon cancer prevention.
Resistant starches are a specific type of complex carbohydrate that don’t get digested in the small intestine but rather travel through the GI tract relatively intact until they reach the colon, where they get fermented by gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Foods high in resistant starches include green bananas, green peas, lentils, uncooked rolled oats, and white beans.
Inulin is another type of complex carbohydrate known as a fructan. Like resistant starches, inulin also has prebiotic qualities: it feeds your microbes to promote a healthy gut flora. Foods high in inulin include artichokes, garlic, onions, and asparagus, among others.
Important Fact: Recent studies show a strong link between altered gut bacteria and colon cancer. Therefore, when establishing lifestyle practices that prevent colon cancer, we must look at habits that promote a thriving and balanced microbiome. Check out The Microbiome Solution for more information to help you lower your risk for colon cancer.
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