A common thread among cancer patients is chronic inflammation. In an acute reaction, inflammation is a natural and beneficial response by our immune system to rid the body of unwanted pathogens. However, inflammation in a sustained and chronic engagement impairs and weakens our immune system.
Among many factors influencing inflammation is our diet. Diet can either mitigate or fuel the fire of inflammation as exampled by a new study published January 18, 2018 in the journal JAMA Oncology entitled “Association of Dietary Inflammatory Potential With Colorectal Cancer Risk in Men and Women”. This study highlights how processed meat and other foods have inflammation-promoting properties that can be a risk factor for colorectal cancer in both men and women.
This was a cohort study that followed 121 050 adults for 26 years. Its purpose was to examine whether pro-inflammatory diets are associated with increased colorectal cancer risk.
The study showed that:
intake of pro-inflammatory diets as evidenced by higher scores on an empirical dietary inflammatory pattern score was associated with a significantly higher risk of developing colorectal cancer in both men and women.
The findings are not too surprising. And although not a part of this study, the underlying premise may extend to more cancers.
Food matters. What we choose to plate and palate impacts our health.
Changing our diet can be an intimidating notion so let’s start with some basics tips for a cancer prevention diet.
5 Tips to Start Your Cancer Prevention diet
- Eat whole foods. Avoid the processed ones.
- Cover at least 80% of your plate with vegetables.
- Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables to get a complete source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Think a rainbow of colours!
- Increase your fiber intake. Aim for between 30-40 grams of fiber daily. This may seem like a lot but if you adhere closely to tips 1 through 3 you are well on your way!
- Eat organic foods as much as possible. This will help to reduce the toxic burden on your body and will increase the nutrient content of your food.
Implement these tips over time and avoid the all or nothing attitude.
Great journeys begin with small steps!