From a CEO tasked with making a monumental decision to an athlete choosing between which game-changing play to run, people love the motto “trust your gut!” And while you can’t necessarily control where that fleeting instinct comes from – whether it be nerves or butterflies – you can at least keep your colon healthy by eating nutritious foods to keep it strong.
Sadly, healthy colons aren’t always commonplace. According to the American Hospital Association, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
“Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in America, but it doesn’t have to be. This type of cancer is extremely preventable. While there is no cookie-cutter solution, there are many things we can do to help minimize our risk,” says Dr. Joaquin Estrada, a colorectal surgeon at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.
Diet has long been tied to increased risk of colorectal cancer, so increased awareness of foods that help is key in limiting risk, he said.
So, how can you keep colon health strong and limit the risk of colorectal cancer? Here are the top five food habits recommended by the American Cancer Society:
- Make room for fruits
- Recognize the power of vegetables
- Include whole grains
- Eat less red and processed meat
- Say no to alcohol
Diets including fruits, vegetables and whole grains and excluding red and processed meat, and alcohol have been linked to a decreased risk of colon cancer. However, incorporating healthy eating into your diet is just one way to help prevent colon cancer. It is also important to get your regular colonoscopy screening when it is time.
According to the CDC, in 2018 only half of adults in their early 50s received a recommended screening test for colorectal cancer. Regular colonoscopy screenings can reduce the risk of developing hard-to-treat colorectal cancer. Screening colonoscopies are recommended for women and men every 10 years, beginning at age 50. The good news: colorectal cancer is highly treatable and preventable with screening.
Take our Colorectal Health Assessment to learn more about your estimated lifetime risk. You can also schedule a screening online and get direct access to a colonoscopy in Illinois by clicking here. To learn more in Wisconsin, click here.