Health

Gastroenterologist recommends ‘best food’ to eat to decrease the risk of bowel cancer

Bowel cancer, which is also known as colon cancer, is the fourth most common type of cancer in the UK, accounting for around 11 percent of new cancer cases.

However, it is the second most deadly, causing the deaths of around 16,000 people every year.

And experts are concerned these numbers will grow as cases among younger people have increased in recent decades.

As the name suggests, the disease starts in the bowel, which includes the colon and rectum.

There are a number of factors that can raise your risk for bowel cancer, with diet being a major one.

While eating certain foods is thought to raise your risk of bowel cancer, others have the potential to lower it.

Gastroenterologist Doctor Saurabh Sethi took to social media platform TikTok to explain more.

He recommended eating more of a type of food to lower your chances of developing the disease.

“This food group has been consistently shown to decrease the risk of colon polyps and colon cancer,” he told his more than 330,000 followers.

Dr Sethi advised eating more legumes. He said: “These foods are known as legumes, such as red beans, black beans, lentils, and chickpeas.

“According to a recent study, eating legumes at least three times a week reduces the risk of colon polyps by 33 percent.

“And as we know, colon cancer starts from these colon polyps.

“Legumes are high in fibre, which promotes regular bowel movements. Legumes are an excellent source of plant-based protein.”

The study referenced by Dr Sethi was published in Nutrition and Cancer journal in 2011.

It concluded that eating legumes at least three times a week and brown rice at least once a week was linked to a reduced risk of colon polyps by 33 percent and 40 percent respectively.

Lead author of the study, Yessenia Tantamango, commented: “Eating these foods is likely to decrease your risk for colon polyps, which would in turn decrease your risk for colorectal cancer.

“While a majority of past research has focused on broad food groups, such as fruits and vegetables, in relation to colon cancer, our study focused on specific foods, as well as more narrowed food groups, in relation to colon polyps, a precursor to colon cancer.

“Our study confirms the results of past studies that have been done in different populations analysing risks for colon cancer.”

Examples of legumes include:

  • Lentils.
  • Peas.
  • Broad beans.
  • Chickpeas.
  • Soybeans.
  • Peanuts.

According to the NHS, symptoms of bowel cancer can include:

  • Changes in your poo, such as having softer poo, diarrhoea or constipation that is not usual for you.
  • Needing to poo more or less often than usual for you.
  • Blood in your poo, which may look red or black.
  • Bleeding from your bottom.
  • Often feeling like you need to poo, even if you’ve just been to the toilet.
  • Tummy pain.
  • A lump in your tummy.
  • Bloating.
  • Losing weight without trying.
  • Feeling very tired for no reason.

If you experience any unexplained symptoms you should speak to your GP.


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