Next time you’re checking out the menu at a restaurant or strolling the aisles of the grocery store looking for dinner options, you have yet one more reason to make a healthy choice.Research is connecting inflammation in the body to a higher risk of colon cancer, which can come as a result of choosing the wrong foods.

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation can be both a good and a bad thing for the body. It’s the body’s natural response to injury and is the function which helps injuries heal. There aretwo types of inflammation, acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is considered “helpful” inflammation, where your immune system sends white blood cells to an infected or harmed area of the body in order to heal it properly. The other type, chronic inflammation, is considered the “bad” one, and puts you at a higher risk for heart issues and colon cancer. Chronic inflammation is a result of the body attacking unwanted substances, like cigarette smoke or excess fat cells. Chronic inflammation isn’t something that comes on suddenly, rather it can take months or even years to reach the point where it poses a health risk.

How Are Food Choices Related To Inflammation?

The study published in the JAMA Oncology Journal followed over 121,000 patients for the course of 26 years, tracking their diet and associating it with a dietary inflammatory pattern score. They then analyzed the findings trying to determine the relationship of certain foods to a risk of colon cancer.  Over the course of the study, researchers found that 2,699 of the study participants developed colon cancer. Those who ate a proinflammatory diet, one high in red meats, refined grains, and sugary beverages, were at a higher risk of developing colon cancer. Conversely, those who ate a diet of yellow or green leafy veggies, whole grains, and even coffee (but not coffee that was heavily sweetened by sugar!) were less likely to have developed the disease. It was also shown that alcohol was a contributor to the cancer. Most of this information isn’t new to doctors or nutritionists. After all, it’s known that a healthy diet is good for your body all around.

What Should I Take From This Study?

Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths from cancer in both men and women combined. Even though thedeath rates have been declining steadily over the past twenty years, theAmerican Cancer Society still estimates over 50,000 deaths from the disease in 2018. The best way to discover and treat, or avoid developing colon cancer altogether, is through regular colonoscopies. For patients of average risk for colon cancer, these exams should begin by age 50. If the test comes back clean, you don’t have to worry about another one for the next ten years. For patients at an above average risk, you may need to have an exam before 50. If you’re concerned about your personal risk or family history of colon cancer, discuss it with your doctor at GI Associates at your next appointment. Request an appointment to learn more about colon cancer and available screening options.

Your Health Matters

Let us partner with you in the thing that matters most - your health. Make an appointment today.