BOWEL cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK, but the risk of developing the disease can be reduced by making some diet changes. Adding more of this to your diet can help lower the risk of getting symptoms.
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Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel.
Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer.
Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK, mostly affecting people over the age of 60.
Symptoms of the disease can include changes in bowel habits, blood in the stools and persistent abdominal pain.
While there’s no way to completely eradicate the chance of getting bowel cancer, it is possible to reduce the risk by making certain diet changes.
One type of food which can help lower the risk of getting bowel cancer, is fibre.
“Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet and helps reduce your risk of bowel cancer,” said Bowel Cancer UK.
Fibre is important because it keeps everything moving easily through the digestive system.
There are two types of fibre: insoluble and soluble.
Insoluble fibre bulks up poo and helps it move through the gut more quickly, which can help prevent constipation.
Good sources of insoluble fibre include wholegrains such as brown rice, wheat and spelt as well as nuts, seeds, potatoes in skins and dried figs.
Soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel in the gut, helping keep poo soft and making it easier to pass.
Soluble fibre can also help lower cholesterol levels.
Good sources of soluble fibre include oats, barley, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, apples and carrots.
UK health guidelines recommend eating at least 30g of fibre a day.
Fruit and vegetables are a very good source of fibre, but also contain antioxidants, which can also help protect against bowel cancer.
This is because antioxidants help to delay or prevent cell damage, according to Bowel Cancer UK.
“Try to eat at least five portions of vegetables and fruit every day,” said Bowel Cancer UK.
“If you want to increase the amount of fibre in your diet, you should do so slowly, especially nuts and beans.”
“If you find too much fibre causes pain, wind or bloating, reduce it by a small amount until your body adjusts and gradually increase it over time.”