Colon and pancreatic cancers are on the rise and while we are far superior in some areas to our ancestors, our diet isn’t really much better.
Processed foods are every direction we look at the grocery store and you’ll be lucky to find a two word ingredient list. The wholefood, fresh food aisles are smaller. The meat fridges are full of red meats that have gone through their own preservative process. So many bargains on brightly coloured snacks. It’s hard to resist the temptation of a the baked goods too.
Approximately 70% of your body’s immunity is in the gut. What does that mean? The vast amount of immune cells are in your gut lymph tissue alongside 80% of plasma cells. Your body is fighting disease from your gut everyday. It’s fighting the toxins from the food you eat and the medications you ingest. The intestines of an adult are on average 8.5 meters long. That’s 7 meters for the small intestine and 1.5 meters for the large intestine! A lot of surface area for bad bacteria and toxins to feed and re-absorb if we’re not careful!
We put ourselves at risk for diseases such as colon cancer, Diverticulitis, Irritable bowel diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis or Chrohn’s and various autoimmune diseases. We expose ourselves to pathogens because the food intake doesn’t nourish our bodies and our bowel movements become irregular as a result. Maybe you’re constipated or have diarrhea. Although they are common complaints, common does not equal normal.
We are responsible for the way we treat our bodies, when we neglect our nutritional needs our bodies can’t be expected to run well. Sometimes you might not be aware of your diet until you get pains or fatigue and you’re wondering why your body is treating you like this?
You can check to see if you’re meeting your daily intake of vitamins by using the free website Cronometer. The branded food product database is limited however you can get accurate results by entering ingredients. The website / app helps you identify the most nutrient dense food you are eating and shows the areas you are not hitting the RDA. It has a full break down of macros including all amino acids. Fitness Pal is a more accurate app when it comes to scanning barcodes however it’s only measures a few vitamins.
Things to AVOID
Red Meat The heme iron in red meat sets off a process that causes inflammation in the body. Cooking meat at high temperatures degrades the proteins and muscle creatinine making it carcinogenic. Never mind all the antibiotics and diseases that may have been present in that animal before slaughter.
Sugar If you want to give bad bacteria something to feed on, sugar wins. Avoid added sugar and stick to fruits. Fruits have sugar but the fiber means they clear the gut.
Synthetic Folic Acid Studies have shown an increased risk of colonic adenomas in those taking synthetic Folic Acid, especially over a long period of time. Try not to take the supplement form, eat your greens!
Alcohol and Tobacco Promotes carcinogenic activity and decreases the absorption of minerals and vitamins, especially B vitamins which are essential for overall health.
Gluten and Dairy You may not have an intolerance to either, however they both cause inflammation in the body.
Obesity Low intensity chronic inflammation. A result of slow metabolism from insulin resistance and hormone imbalances.
Lack of exercise Physical activity moves the gut and get the lymph moving in your body. If you’re not moving, neither is your lymph! In turn there will be internal inflammation.
Nourishing Foods and Habits
Folate (B9) Reduces risk of adenomas unlike Folic Acid and is commonly deficient in those with IBD. Low Folate levels can enhance colon cancer cells in cancer patients. You can supplement Folate in oral pill form or make green smoothies with kale and spinach.
Sibibinin A herbal supplement extracted from Milk Thistle used as a supportive treatment for many cancers, especially bowel cancer.
Turmeric The curcumin in the spice Turmeric helps inhibit DNA mutations, cancer cell multiplication and inflammation in the body. Turmeric can be made into a hot drink with water and milk. Since dairy milk causes inflammation I suggest using plant based milk such as oat, almond or cashew milk.
Probiotics Good bacteria is essential for a healthy gut. You must take probiotics if after finishing antibiotics or if you take medication daily to restore gut flora. Keep your probiotics in the fridge!
Vitamin D3 increases the production of anti-microbial molecules and helps with inflammation. There are many Vegan D3 liquid and capsule supplements, my favourite is Solgar Vitamin D3 2500IU
Vitamin E an antioxidant that decreases colon damage in studies referring to IBD. Almonds, spinach and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin E.
Quercetin is a flavanoid antioxidant mainly found in dark fruit and vegetables – Spinach, Kale, Berries, Peppers and Citrus fruits.
Green Tea / Mint Tea some people find Green tea has an anti-colitic effect. Mint tea helps to reduce bowels spasms if you have IBS.
Get moving! 30 minutes of intense physical activity or 60 minutes of moderate activity everyday is essential. It lowers insulin levels, increases your sensitivity to insulin and decreases inflammation. Your lymph is moving, you’re sweating and that’s releasing toxins. It doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym. Get a skipping rope or do some simple HIIT training in your back garden. Practice simple yoga poses or pilates while watching TV. Bring your dog for a walk, even sweep your yard and wash the windows.
Sleep You might think sleep is just this thing that you’d love more of but it’s not priority. Well start taking sleep seriously! Lack of sleep messes with your circadian rhythm. Sleep between the hours of 11pm and 2am is the most important for hormones. It’s been shown that Nightworkers are 50% more at risk of disease because their DNA repair is not taking place at a time their body naturally wants to sleep. Eating right before sleeping means the body is digesting far more than it should be at times when it needs to rebuild.
Colonic Irrigation Having a machine clear you out to start fresh, sounds a little intimidating but it’s a pain-free option if you’re in a bad way. Personally I’ve never tried this option but for someone suffering with bowel problems or as a preventative measure, it would be beneficial.