HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL publishes a health letter every year. In 2014, their letter listed five steps that help prevent colorectal cancer. In this post, I will explain three of the five points mentioned.
HERE’S A DIAGRAM, but I also explain all three points in detail below!
Steps for Preventing Colon Cancer
1. HAVE GOOD LEVELS OF VITAMIN D
VITAMIN D IS FREE (comes from sunshine!) and seems to have a protective effect on many diseases.
EXPOSING MOST OF YOUR BODY TO SUNSHINE 10 MINUTES PER DAY IS ENOUGH to have good levels of vitamin D. You can have your vitamin D checked by a doctor to discuss possible supplementation! Although it is not clear yet whether vitamin D supplements have the same effect as vitamin D from sunlight, Harvard does recommend taking them.
GOOD LEVELS OF VITAMIN D ARE ASSOCIATED WITH LOWER RISK of colon cancer, especially in older women. Moreover, people with vitamin D levels of 20ng/ml or more have a threefold lower risk of developing colon cancer than people with lower vitamin D levels. In the case of polyps, it seems that having a bit higher vitamin D levels, 30 to 35 ng/ml, is important.
2. ENFORCE DIET REGULATIONS
Harvard recommendations for healthy bowels are:
❤ Maximum 2 portions of red meat per week
❤ Maximum 1-2 glasses of alcohol per day
❤ A diet low in glycemic index. This means a diet composed mainly of vegetables! Foods that are rich in carbohydrates and low in fiber (for example, white bread, pastries, sweets, hamburger buns) tend to have a high glycemic index.
3. EXERCISE REGULARLY
HARVARD RECOMMENDS 150 MINUTES OF FAST-PACED WALKING PER WEEK. We can do that, right? It comes down to about 20-25 minutes of fast-paced walking per day.
THE HARVARD HEALTH LETTER CONTAINS FIVE STEPS, while I only mention three here. The remaining points are 1) colonoscopy and 2) taking aspirin daily. These options should always be discussed with your doctor – since I’m not your doctor, I won’t go into them!
Colon Cancer Risk Factors
THE FOLLOWING DIAGRAM WILL HELP YOU CHECK your risk factors for developing colon cancer.
NO MATTER HOW MANY RISK FACTORS YOU HAVE, it is never too soon to start applying above measures to help decrease your risk!
THANKS FOR READING! Let me know if you have any concerns, questions or remarks by leaving a comment below.