Colon cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer each year in the United States. Over the last several years more diagnosis have been made in early stages thanks to early detection with proper screening. There are many risks for colon cancer that are unavoidable like gender, race, age and family history, but there are also risk factors that you can change. Modifiable risk factors for colon cancer include quitting smoking, increasing your exercise level, decreasing your alcohol intake and changing your diet.

Studies show that having a serving of nuts, which is about an ounce, three or more times a week decreases your risk of developing colon cancer. Nuts are an excellent source of fiber, unsaturated fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals your body needs. Eating nuts also decreases your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes and lung disease. Obviously nuts are a healthy choice for a snack or to add to other meals like oatmeal or a salad. The three servings could be broken up over the whole week or eaten as three individual servings and the benefits stay the same. Nuts are high in calories and fat (although good fats) so this is not a “the more, the better” scenario.

Making healthier lifestyle choices is a great way to decrease your risk of developing colon cancer, but you should still follow closely with your doctor and pursue colon cancer screenings when appropriate. If you have any symptoms of colon cancer or feel like it is time for you to undergo screening, talk with your gastroenterologist about your symptoms and discuss what screening options are right for you. The doctors at GI Associates are specially trained in colonoscopies and will help you through each step.

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