High Fiber Diets Can Lower Risk of Colon Polyps and Cancer

The life-cycle of colon cancer begins with the development of a precancerous polyp, known as an adenoma. These adenomas, if not removed during a colonoscopy, can develop into colon cancer. Also, for the purpose of understanding the results of the following study, it is important to note that left-sided adenomas and colon cancers (found, literally, on the left side of the colon) are the more common and less aggressive than right-sided cancers.

The study, conducted at the Centre for Public Health in Northern Ireland, was observational in nature. The researchers analyzed data from a large U.S. bowel screening trial, focusing on individuals who completed a dietary questionnaire and received a screening at the start of the trial and a second screening 3-5 years later. The results showed that those participants who ate a high fiber diet, rich in cereals and fruit, were at a lower risk of developing their first left-sided adenoma or left-sided colon cancer.

The protective nature of the fiber rich diet seemed to only affect the initial development. Patients with adenomas discovered at the initial screening of the trial showed no difference in redevelopment between those with a fiber rich diet and the low fiber group.

The researchers concluded that current fiber recommendations of 25-35 grams per day are supported by research. They also agree that additional research into ways to help people reach those daily fiber goals is important.

So what are some ways for you to reach 25-35 grams per day?

  • Switch to whole grains - make sure to buy 100% whole wheat bread and pasta, and cook brown rice instead of white.
  • Eat beans a few times each week - they are loaded with healthy plant protein.
  • Have several servings of fruit each day - add an apple, pear or a cup of strawberries to your breakfast. Enjoy another serving as a snack and end your day with a fruit as dessert.
  • Ground flax seed - add a tablespoon to your smoothie or soup. This is an easy way to sneak in 3 more grams of fiber.
  • Vegetables, Vegetables, Vegetables - all day, every day!

The doctors at Asheville Gastro want you to live your healthiest life. Pay attention to your fiber intake and prevent problems down the road.