Here’s a pretty scary fact: colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer-related cause of death in the United States. The survival rate after 5 years is just 65%, and it’s estimated more than 135,000 new cases were diagnosed in 2017 alone. Worse, more than 50,000 people died from this type of cancer.
As you can see, colorectal cancer is no joke!
While it’s unclear what causes this type of cancer, there are many established risk factors that increase your cancer risk. For example, elderly people have a higher chance of developing colorectal cancer, as are those who are overweight or obese.
But did you know that the main risk factors are all dietary? That’s right: the food you eat could increase (or decrease) your cancer risk.
Here are the primary dietary risk factors related to colorectal cancer:
Excessive consumption of saturated fats
High alcohol consumption
Excessively high animal protein intake
Very high calorie diet
Insufficient dietary fiber
The good news is that a balanced, healthy diet (like the diet we at ‘Go Healthy with Stefan’ promote) can drastically reduce cancer risk. Cutting back on animal protein intake (to no more than 20% of daily calories), reducing overeating (consuming no more than 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day), and limiting alcohol consumption will play a huge role in improving digestive health and preventing colorectal cancer.
The best way to reduce colorectal cancer is to increase your dietary fiber intake. That means eating A LOT more vegetables and fruits. According to a new medical study, there’s one fruit that can do wonders to protect your intestines from this cancer.
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In recent years, a number of lab-based and in-vitro studies have proven that apples offer a lot of health benefits—from decreased appetite to better digestion. A team of scientists wanted to find out whether apples could also help to reduce colorectal cancer risk.
More than 1300 patients were chosen for this study. 590 of the patients had colorectal cancer, while the other 760 were control subjects (without cancer). The researchers questioned all the patients to determine their fruit consumption, and they found that the control group consumed “statistically significant” quantities of fruit more than the cancer patients. Not only that, but apples were the most consumed fruit, accounting for roughly 80% of the fruit consumed.
While the consumption of berries, stone fruits, and citrus fruits seemed to have little effect on the cancer risk, the patients that consumed the highest amount of apples per week had the lowest risk of colorectal cancer. As the study said, “the adjusted risk of colorectal cancer inversely correlated with daily number of apple servings.” Basically, the more apples the patients ate every week, the lower their risk of cancer.
The old saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Is one apple enough, or should you be eating more in order to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer?
According to the data gathered by the researchers, one apple was sufficient to reduce colorectal cancer risk, but MORE apples are always better. Eating two or more apples per day was enough to decrease the cancer risk by roughly 50%!
How do apples help to improve your intestinal health and decrease your cancer risk? As the researchers said, “The observed protective effect of apple consumption on colorectal risk may result from their rich content of flavonoid and other polyphenols, which can inhibit cancer onset and cell proliferation.”
While none of the other fruits or veggies had a direct effect on colorectal cancer, apples were able to reduce your risk. Seems like a pretty clear indication that apples deserve a place on your daily menu.
Be warned: don’t go all out and eat 5 or 10 apples a day. Just as with any fruit, apples are rich in sugar, which your body will turn to stored fat. Eating more than four or five apples a day will be just as bad as eating an extra donut or having a second helping of dessert. Sugar, even fructose, can lead to excess fat storage if consumed in high quantities.
But the good news is that you can eat two or three apples without worrying about your sugar intake, and it will do wonders to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. The high fiber content of apples make them one of the healthiest fruits on the planet!
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