Bowel cancer: Gastroenterologist shares the optimal diet to prevent bowel cancer
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Bowel cancer represents a daunting prospect but research continues to suggest that your risk of the condition could be modified. One of the greatest weapons you can add to your arsenal of protection is a healthy diet. Fortunately, a gastroenterologist has shared the key food components that could reduce your risk of bowel cancer by “considerable amounts”.

Symptom awareness is one of the best ways of detecting the deadly condition but prevention is always better than early treatment.

Fortunately, healthy food choices could cut your risk of bowel cancer by “considerable amounts”, according to Dr Sara Mesilhy, Gastroenterologist from the Royal College of Physicians UK.

The doctor said: “Generally, our diet should be plant-based and high in fibre, with limitations of red and processed meat, as they have been linked to bowel cancer development.

“Studies proved that food components like fibre, vitamin D, folate, calcium, omega 3-fatty acids and antioxidants have been shown to have a protective role.

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“These components prevent the development of cancer by considerable amounts in several ways.”

Firstly, these nutrients can help decrease levels of inflammation, which is a known cancer risk factor.

Furthermore, they can also boost your immunity and cut your risk of several health problems, including obesity and type 2 diabetes – potential precursors of bowel cancer.


Dietary fibre helps to promote regular bowel movements, “diluting the carcinogenic contents” and limiting bacterial overgrowth, according to the expert.



“Most studies agree that calcium-rich dairy products decrease the risk of development of bowel cancer,” Dr Mesilhy said.

Vitamin D

Ensuring you get plenty of vitamin D through sun exposure and foods could help decrease tumour growth but more research is currently needed.


“Omega-3 fatty acids slow the growth of cancer cells and reduce the inflammation in the bowel,” the doctor said.


These compounds, found in fruits and veggies, fight free radicals in your body and help delay or prevent cell damage.

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When it comes to specific foods, three options seem to be especially important – fish, fruit and vegetables.

Dr Mesilhy said: “A study demonstrated that eating fish three times per week can reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer by 33 percent.”

Interestingly, fresh fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and calcium – the components that the doctor recommended for staving off the daunting condition.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants and fibres – other key components for your risk.

“It is recommended to eat a minimum of 400 grams of fruit and vegetables daily,” the expert said.

Other foods you should include in your regimen include pulses like beans and whole grains such as quinoa, oatmeal and rice.

Furthermore, you should cut down on your alcohol intake, as the popular drink can increase your risk of cancer by a whopping 40 percent.

Dr Mesilhy added: “In conclusion, a healthy diet can prevent a lot of diseases including bowel cancer. 

“However, further studies are still needed to evaluate the exact effectiveness of each component and the ideal amount for prevention.”

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