Keep Your Colon Healthy with This Main Course

Keep Your Colon Healthy with This Main Course

To dodge colon cancer, make sure your dinner plate has plenty of room for fish.

Research suggests that the polyunsaturated fats in our fine finned friends may provide a mighty nice buffer against colon cancer.

The Fats That Protect Best
In a study, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids -- including eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid -- cut colon cancer risk in a big way in Caucasians. And these fats are found in abundance in fish. Interestingly, the short-chain omega-3s that are found in nuts and cereals and are oh-so-good for your heart did not have the same protective benefit. And although both Caucasians and African Americans were included in the research, the results suggest that more studies are needed to confirm if there is a benefit in African Americans as well -- so stay tuned. (But here's something we know cuts colon cancer risk in all people.)

Triple Threat to Cancer
Why are omega-3 fatty acids in fish such strong adversaries against colon cancer? Both lab and animal studies suggest omega-3s may curb the birth of new cancer cells, hinder tumor growth, and inhibit the spread of tumor cells to other parts of the body. Try these other gut protectors, too:

Did You Know?
Too much saturated fat from red meat may increase colon cancer risk. These healthy habits have been associated with a lower risk of colon cancer.

Colon Cancer

Caused by growths that turn malignant, colon cancer develops slowly over several years.The cancer begins when precancerous growths called adenomatous polyps form in the tissues of the colon, which makes up the lower part of our di...

gestive system. Polyps can be detected through colon screenings. A colonoscopy uses a thin, lighted tube to search for polyps, cancer and abnormal areas in the colon and rectum. A colonoscopy is recommended at least every 10 years, starting at the age of 45 for African-Americans who are at greater risk for the cancer and at 50 for other races. Your risk for colon cancer increases if you have had previous cancers, a family history of colon or rectal cancers, or have ulcerative colitis. See your doctor if you have rectal bleeding, notice changes in your bowel movements or have unexplained weight loss. To prevent colon cancer, get screened as recommended by your doctor, maintain a healthy diet, exercise often and quit smoking if you currently do.