How to reduce your chances of getting bowel cancer

3 MIN READ August 3, 2017
Here are some recommendations.

Fact: New Zealand has one of the highest incidences of bowel cancer in the world. Each year about 3,000 people are diagnosed with the disease. Did you know that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer? While there is no miracle pill to prevent yourself from ever getting, you can set yourself up to greatly lower the chances of you getting it. Here are some tops tips to help you reduce your risk.

Know your family history:
Family history plays a big role in bowel cancer; up to 20% of people who develop bowel cancer have a relative with the disease. Find out if your relatives had bowel cancer.

Diet does play a big part of your chances when it comes to bowel cancer. It’s not about being super strict on yourself, it’s about enjoying a wide variety of nutritious foods, eat vegetables, try having some wholegrain breads/rice, and include lean meat, fish and poultry. Try to drink alcohol in moderation, heavy drinking may increase the risk of bowel cancer. Eating good fibre is an important part of the diet. Try to eat food that has high fibre.

Higher fibre foods:  (are good things to try to include in your diet)

  • Foods made with whole grain flours
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Baked beans, cooked lentils and split peas
  • For snacks try nuts, popcorn, seeds, dried fruit

Lower fibre foods (Things to try to have less of)

  • White bread
  • Refined cereals
  • Foods made with white flour
  • Fruit juice

Get some exercise:
It has been recommended that doing 30 minutes of physical exercise every day reduces the risk of cancer. There are tremendous benefits to getting even a small amount of physical activity each day, both mentally and physically. Being active gives you more energy, helps you sleep better, reduces the risk of depression and can help to prevent a range of chronic diseases. Start out by making small changes, and as you get used to them, gradually add more changes or activities. Exercise with a friend or family member. It’s sometimes easier when you have someone else encouraging you, and is easier to keep the “exercise habit” going because you’ve made a commitment. If you’re worried you don’t have the time, keep in mind that you don’t have to do it all at once – you can accumulate your 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activity by combining a few shorter sessions of about 10 to 15 minutes each throughout the day. Research has shown that accumulated short bouts of moderate-intensity activity are just as effective at improving health factors such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol.

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