Colon Cancer

Gut-friendly Nutrition: Eating Right for GI Health

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Summary & Participants

Cancers of the GI system are among the most preventable. Learn how simple changes in diet can help keep your digestive system healthy and possibly prevent colon cancer.

Medically Reviewed On: July 21, 2012

Webcast Transcript

ANNOUNCER: More and more studies show good nutrition may help reduce the risk of developing many forms of cancer.

LYNN GOLDSTEIN, MS, RD: It was never originally thought that diet had such a significant part of cancer, but it actually has a huge role in all cancers and dramatically in gastrointestinal cancers.

ANNOUNCER: So what is the appropriate nutrition to make your diet a gut-friendly one? Step one. Eat more fruits and vegetables.

LYNN GOLDSTEIN, MS, RD: They strengthen our immune system and they keep our body going. They also have fiber and fiber's a great way to keep our gut healthy and moving properly, and acting properly. They also have antioxidants. Certain vitamins and minerals are strong antioxidants. When you hear people say, you know, eat all the bright colors or eat a rainbow, it means all the bright colors in fruits and vegetables: the greens, the oranges, the purples, the reds. All these colors are created by chemicals and these chemicals are antioxidants and the antioxidants help fight off disease and strengthen our immune system.

ANNOUNCER: It's also necessary to increase your intake of whole grains and fiber.

LYNN GOLDSTEIN, MS, RD: Fiber's been a little controversial as of late with all the studies, "Yes, it's good for colon cancer," "No, it's not." But, in general, fiber has so many good factors to it, as far as regulating our bowel function, preventing constipation, keeping us fuller longer, which helps fight obesity.

There are two kinds of fiber, insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is soluble in water and that's what it means. So it actually collects water as it's moving through the GI tract or through the gastrointestinal tract. And what that does is help bulk up the stool, so it gives form to your stool.

Insoluble fiber is not soluble in water, so it helps speeds up transit time in the gut to make things move faster. And, in doing that, it cleans out our system and takes any carcinogens that might be in our system and gets rid of them more quickly, so they don't sit in our gut and in our colon for long periods of time.

Fiber also helps bulk up your diet, so it keeps you fuller longer, so it helps fight obesity. Obesity is another significant risk factor for colon cancer as well, so fiber is beneficial in doing that.

ANNOUNCER: Low-fat dairy products like skim or low-fat milk, non-fat yogurt and cheeses are also important.

LYNN GOLDSTEIN, MS, RD: Dairy products have certain items in them like calcium, which has been shown to help reduce your risk of colon cancer. Also has vitamin D, same thing, also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer as well. Also has probiotics and probiotics are healthy gut bacteria that help regulate the gut.

ANNOUNCER: And water is the one thing no healthy body can do without.

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