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Guide to Preventing Colon Polyps   ( Home | Diet | Foods | Recipes )

Colon Polyp Prevention Diet: 5 Tips for Reducing Risk of Polyps

colon polyp foods

Dietary factors are known to play a role in the prevention of colon polyps, also known as intestinal polyps. The diet tips below may help reduce your risk of developing colon polyps.

Note: the information provided on this website not constitute a substitute for professional medical or health advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

#1: Eat Foods That Contain Curcumin or Quercetin

Curcumin is a phytochemical that gives turmeric its intense yellow pigment. Curcumin has been used, in the form of turmeric, in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries due to its beneficial effects on a wide range of diseases and conditions. In recent years, also western medicine has started to pay greater attention to this extraordinary compound. In one study, patients with 5 or more polyps in their lower intestinal track were administered 480 milligrams of curcumin three times a day, together with 20 milligrams of quercetin. Quercetin is a naturally occurring bioflavonoid found in high concentrations in yellow and red onions. The average number of polyps in the patients decreased by 60% and the average size of polyps dropped by half after an average of six months.

#2: Reduce Fat Intake Especially from Animal Fat

A high dietary intake of animal fat has been shown to increase the risk of intestinal polyps. Furthermore, a high fat diet is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. One particular compound that seems to play a major role in this context is arachidonic acid, found primarily in fatty red meats, egg yolks and organ meats. This omega-6 fatty acid has been shown to enhance cancer growth and to facilitate its spread within the body, and some evidence indicates that arachidonic acid is also able destroy cells of the immune system involved in the protection against colon cancer.

In contrast, omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel and in a few other foods including flaxseed and walnuts, are believed to have a protective effect against colon cancer. However, even then it is wise to limit the total intake of fat to approximately 20% because all dietary fat stimulates the production of bile which may be converted into apcholic acid, a proven carcinogen, if a lot of fat stagnates in the large intestine for too long.

Vitamin D in salmon may reduce the risk of colon polyps.

#3: Ensure a Sufficient Intake of Vitamin D

According to one study, a daily intake of 645 IUs of vitamin D could reduce the risk of dangerous colon polyps by a third. The beneficial effect of vitamin D on colon polyps is based on the vitamin's ability to control proliferation of cells that might be multiplying too quickly. In addition, vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium, another nutrient that has been shown to protect against polyps in the intestine. The best sources of vitamin D include liver, egg yolks, fish, and vitamin-D fortified milk products. The body can also make vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight.

#4: Maintain a Diet with an Appropriate Calcium-to-Magnesium Ratio

Calcium is known for its role in supporting strong bones and teeth, but in recent years calcium has also been heralded for its potentially protective effects against intestinal polyps. One study found that calcium reduced the risk of all intestinal polyps by 14 percent and advanced polyps by 35 percent. The same study suggested that in order to maximize the benefits of calcium a minimum intake of 1,200 mg of the mineral might be necessary. This level of calcium is also recommended for healthy bones. However, calcium appears to be effective against colon polyps only in the presence of sufficient magnesium levels. A calcium-to-magnesium ratio of 2:1 is often advised; however, individual differences can greatly alter the ideal ratio. Furthermore, to get the most out of calcium's health benefits, combine calcium rich foods with foods high in vitamin D (vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium from food in the intestines).

#5: Eat Foods That Contain Sulphoraphane

Sulforaphane is a compound that is formed when broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables are chewed or chopped. In one animal study, researchers found that sulforaphane protected animals' intestines from polyps. Not only did sulforaphane slow the growth of polyps, it was also able to induce self-destruction of the harmful cells (a process known as "apoptosis").

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