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A Diet High in Fiber Can Lower the Risk of Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer is prevalent in both men and women across the world. Causes of the disease are not known, but the risk factors include the use of tobacco, obesity, consumption of alcohol, sedentary lifestyle, and more.

High-risk people are those above 60 years of age, family history of the disease, and having familial polyposis syndrome. Colonoscopy is the recommended screening method, which should start at age 50 and continue every 10 years.

A new research analysis has found that eating a high-fiber diet can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. It compared groups with high fiber intake and those with the lowest intake.

High dietary fiber reduces the risk by lowering the gastrointestinal transit time, increasing stool bulk, diluting fecal carcinogens, and causing bacterial fermentation of the fiber in order to short-chain fatty acids with anti-carcinogenic properties.

Colonic adenomas can progress into cancer in some people. Those who consume high intakes of dietary fiber have low risks of developing distal colon cancer and colorectal adenoma. Fiber from fruits and cereals can act early in the adenoma-carcinoma sequence and lower the risk of both cancer and adenoma.

The study evaluated colon cancer and diet in different people from 10 countries with different dietary habits. They tracked the patients for 6 years. Those who ate high quantities of fiber had a 42% reduction in colon cancer risk.

Dietary fiber consists of non-starch complex carbohydrates found in plant-based foods. They comprise of soluble and insoluble fiber. There are no animal sources of fiber available.

Soluble fiber can easily dissolve in water to form a gel that promotes early satiety and delayed emptying. It can easily digest in the colon and may cause gas and bloating. Soluble fiber helps in preventing diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as improving colon health. This is because it reduces glucose levels and blood cholesterol. Sources of soluble fiber include barley, apples, peas, citrus fruits, avocado, legumes, husks, rye, oats, and vegetables like carrots and broccoli.

Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and is less fermentable or grassy. It helps to promote bowel movements by adding water and bulk to the stool to create stool softening in the digestive system. Sources include brown rice, legumes, apples, whole grains, seeds, vegetables like cabbage, wheat bran, and Brussels sprouts.

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