This is the Best Food to Protect Against Colon Cancer — Plus 5 Other Foods You Should Be Eating

Once you turn 50, your doctor will likely recommend that you get checked for colorectal cancer every three to five years. Although your genes do play a role in colon cancer, there are a few things you can do to prevent the disease. And switching up your diet can be a major factor.

Doctors suggest greens like cabbage, kale, and broccoli are the best foods you can eat to keep your colon healthy. Here’s why — along with five other foods you might want to add to your diet.

The diagnosis Colon Cancer written on a clipboard

Certain foods can help prevent colorectal cancer. | iStock.com/Zerbor

1. Cabbage, kale, and broccoli (leafy greens)

Certain leafy greens may help you maintain a healthy gut and prevent colon cancer, according to new research. When we digest these vegetables, a compound known is I3C (indole-3-carbinol) gets produced in the digestive system. A new study showed the compound helped to protect against inflammation and colon cancer in mice. The study also showed that mice who ate a diet rich in I3C, even when they already had cancer, showed fewer overall tumors than mice who were not fed the diet. Doctors encourage a diet high in cruciferous, leafy vegetables to prevent that inflammation and ward off colon cancer.

2. Cheese

Research has shown that having good calcium levels can help stave off colon cancer. Cheese is an excellent source of calcium. Plus, it has a reputation for being unhealthy, but it actually has some awesome benefits when consumed in moderation. If you’re looking for a reason to add a slice of cheese to your sandwich, look no further; it might actually prevent colorectal cancer and prolong your life.

3. Whole grains

The American Institute for Cancer Research released a study suggesting that those who eat a diet high in whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat breads and pastas, etc.) have a reduced risk of developing colorectal cancer. The same study also found that high amounts of processed meats such as hot dogs and cold cuts, along with red meats, can increase colon cancer risk.

Swap your white bread for whole wheat bread and you’ve already cut your risk.

4. Tomatoes

Phytochemicals have been shown to reduce colorectal cancer risk, too. The antioxidant phytochemical lycopene is found in tomatoes and tomato-based products, such as ketchup. Studies have suggested lycopene helps inhibit colorectal cancer cells, preventing the cancer from growing in the body. While ketchup is a good source of lycopene, try adding a few tomato slices to your sandwich or salad daily to increase those lycopene levels.

5. Salmon

Omega-3s, commonly found in fish, can help reduce colon cancer risk. And those who have colon cancer and consume salmon or mackerel regularly have a lower risk of dying from the disease than others, according to one study. Eating salmon regularly may reduce the risk of death by as much as 70%. You can take supplements to get fish oil, but try swapping your steak for a hearty piece of salmon to get those necessary oils and reduce your risk.

6. Beans

Foods full of fiber are often associated with cancer prevention, and colon cancer is no exception. Kidney beans and other legumes are fiber-filled foods that can help reduce colon cancer risk. One study showed that countries with the highest bean consumption also saw the lowest mortality rate from colon cancer. The beans are suspected to prevent cancerous tumors from forming in the colorectal area.

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