5 healthy habits to lower bowel cancer risk

5 healthy habits to lower bowel cancer risk

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Five key healthy behaviors are associated with a lower risk of developing bowel cancer.

Researchers from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrueck researched the impact of five healthy living behaviors on the risk of developing bowel cancer.

These data provide additional incentive to individuals, medical professionals and public health authorities to invest in healthy lifestyle initiatives. Each person can contribute a lot to avoid cancer, the more healthy lifestyle changes, the better,” said lead author Krasimira Aleksandrova.

Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the second most common type of cancer in men and the third most in women across the world.

Fifty-five percent of cases occur in regions like North America and Western Europe. Previous studies have analyzed cancer rates and isolated lifestyles, but little research has been done on the effects of combined healthy lifestyles.

The research published in the open access journal BMC Medicine analyzed the data of 347,237 men and women from 10 countries from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort study using a healthy lifestyle index. Over the 12-year study period, 3,759 cases of bowel cancer were recorded.

The healthy lifestyle factors were composed of the following: a healthy weight, low abdominal fat, participating in regular physical activity, not smoking and limiting alcohol, and a diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, yogurt, nuts, and seeds, foods rich in fiber, and low amounts of red and processed meats.

For each one of the behaviors, the participants were given a score of 1 for having the healthy factor or zero for not having it. These points were summed together to create an overall score for each participant.

Our data confirmed that with an increasing number of healthy lifestyle behaviors the risk that a person will have of developing bowel cancer decreases,” said Aleksandrova.

The research team found that the more healthy living factors were adopted, the lower the risk of bowel cancer was. Those who had a combination of two, three, four, or all five healthy behaviors had a 13%, 21%, 34% and 37% lower risk of developing bowel cancer, respectively. The authors noted a difference between men and women.

Estimates based on our study populations suggest that up to 22% of the cases in men and 11% of the cases in women would have been prevented if all five of the healthy lifestyle behaviors had been followed. Our results particularly demonstrate the potential for prevention in men who are at a higher risk of bowel cancer than women,” said Aleksandrova.

AS ALWAYS: Check with your health practitioner before you change your diet. Organic foods are not meant to replace any treatment or drugs you are taking.

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1. “Bowel Cancer Risk Reduced by Adopting Multiple Healthy Behaviors.” EurekAlert! BioMed Central, 09 Oct. 2014. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.

2. “Combined Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Colorectal Cancer: A Large European Cohort Study.” BMC Medicine. BioMed Central, 10 Oct. 2014. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.

3. “Bowel Cancer Risk Reduced by Adopting Multiple Healthy Behaviors.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 Oct. 2014. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.

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