Next time you find yourself in a group of twenty people take a look around. At least one of those folks—perhaps even you—will be diagnosed with colon cancer in his or her lifetime. And as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women, that colon cancer is likely to kill the person.
But the good news is you can tip the odds in your favor.
And it turns out one of the best ways to slash your colon cancer risk is also the easiest. Simply add more science-backed, colon cancer fighting foods to your diet.
Keep colon cancer at bay with cancer-blocking foods
Following are our top seven picks for colon cancer fighting foods…
1. Black raspberries:
Emerging research has linked tart and delicious black raspberries to a reduced risk of colon cancer. In an exciting animal study at the University of Illinois, cancer prone mice were put on a high fat diet that also included a black raspberry powder.
Researchers reported that the black raspberry supplement provided significant protection against colorectal cancer. Incredibly, the mice that ate the supplement had their chance of developing a tumor drop by 45 percent. And their number of overall tumors drop by 60 percent, compared to control mice.
There is one catch. Finding fresh black raspberries can be a bit of a challenge. They’re in season for just about three weeks in July. So if you do locate some you might want to buy extras and freeze them. Your best bet for finding them fresh is to check natural food stores, Farmer’s markets and produce stands.
Lots of folks confuse black raspberries with blackberries. The easiest way to tell if it is a black raspberry you’re looking at is to see if it’s hollow inside. If it doesn’t have a hole at the top then you have a blackberry on your hands which, although delicious, isn’t what you’re looking for.
There are also black raspberry powder supplements—similar to what was used in the University of Illinois study—available in health food stores and online.
2. Brazil nuts:
Brazil nuts are such a potent superfood that, according to a joint study between Cornell University and the University of Arizona, you only need two of them a day to reduce your risk of colon cancer by up to 58 percent.
The key to Brazil nut’s cancer-fighting power lies in its selenium content. Studies have found that folks with higher levels of selenium have lower rates of certain cancers, including colorectal cancers. Experts say selenium protects cells against free radical damage and also may help suppress tumors by reducing their blood supply.
Researchers say there’s a link between eating more garlic and a reduced risk of a variety of cancers including colon cancer. In fact, the Iowa Women’s Study found that women who ate the highest amount of garlic had an impressive 50 percent lower risk of colon cancer.
Experts say that allicin—the compound in garlic that gives the spice its pungent flavor and smell when it’s crushed or cut—is responsible for its cancer-fighting powers. To get the most allicin bang for your buck, wait 10 to 15 minutes after cutting up your garlic cloves before using them. This will give the allicin time to fully activate.
4. Green tea:
There’s a huge stack of studies that have found a link between drinking tea and a lower risk of cancer. And researchers say that green tea in particular, which is richer in antioxidants and polyphenols than black tea, may have even more cancer-fighting power.
Green tea contains a super-powerful antioxidant called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) that research has shown can offer some protection against several different kinds of cancer, including colon cancer.
For example, in one study when cancer-prone mice were given green tea for twelve weeks they developed significantly fewer colon tumors than control mice, according to a study published in the journal Carcinogensis. And a number of studies on human colon cancer cells suggest that EGCG not only can help prevent the spread of cancer cells, it could even trigger some of the cancer cells to die.
Try adding several cups of EGCG-rich green tea to your daily routine. There are green tea supplements available too.
What you’re really after here is the calcium found in wild caught oily fish. In the Nurses’ Health Study participants who got more than 700 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day had up to a 45 percent reduced risk of colon cancer, compared to the folks who got 500 mg or less.
A couple of rainbow trout fillets will provide you with around 246 mg of this vital mineral. Other oily fish such as smoked salmon, swordfish and mackerel are great sources too. And just a single tablespoon of cod liver oil a day will provide you with a stunning 13,600 milligrams.
No a fish fan? Some non-fish sources of calcium include milk, cheese, plain yogurt, spinach, almonds and eggs. Or you can check with your doctor about taking a calcium supplement instead.
6. Steel-cut oatmeal:
Don’t be intimidated by the name. Steel-cut oats are basically the same as the oatmeal you’re used to, but they’re less processed and take longer to cook. Steel-cut oats are a “resistant starch,” which means it takes far longer for digestive enzymes to reach the starch and start breaking it down.
Resistant starches act a lot like fiber in your body passing through the stomach and small intestine into your colon where they’re fermented by your gut bugs.
If you’re a big red meat eater experts say it’s a good idea to include plenty of resistant starches in your diet. According to research published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, eating 40 grams of resistant starches per day significantly slashed the number of colorectal cancer promoting molecules in volunteers body’s, bringing them back down to baseline without having to cut back on the red meat in their diets.
Other foods that contain resistant starches include not quite ripe (green) bananas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. And while you’re at it be sure to include plenty of other high fiber foods in your diet. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, for every 10 grams of fiber you eat per day your risk of colon cancer is cut by 10 percent.
There are lots of great reasons to eat spinach, but one you don’t often hear about is the green’s magnesium content. Spinach is loaded with this critical mineral. In fact, it only takes one cup of cooked spinach to get 40 percent of your recommended daily amount of magnesium.
Low magnesium levels are associated with certain types of cancers, including colon cancer. It’s especially risky in folks carrying around a few extra pounds. But bumping up your levels could help.
According to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Nutrition every 100 gram increase of magnesium in the diet is linked to a 13 percent lower risk of colorectal tumors, and 12 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer. And a study out of Sweden found women with the highest magnesium levels were 40 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer than ladies with the lowest amounts in their diets.
Colon cancer is a killer, but you don’t have to become its next victim. Slash your risk of deadly colon cancer starting today by eating more of these seven colon cancer blocking foods.