When it comes to colon cancer, research shows family history isn’t the be-all, end-all risk factor.
Instead, individual risk strongly relates to a number of other factors…including a diet filled with ultra-processed foods.
Or a significant history of antibiotic drug use.
And now, a new study shows there’s yet another modifiable risk factor that can help CRUSH your risk of developing precancerous growths that can turn into colon cancer.
All it takes is one TINY change to your health…
SLASH risk of precancerous polyps
For this new study, researchers followed nearly 155,000 men and women, ages 55 to 74 years, for almost 20 years.
All participants underwent colon cancer screening at the start of the study and again in three or five years. The researchers also tracked the participants’ weight over time.
It turns out, men and women who lost as little as 2 pounds (lbs) per decade from early-to-late adulthood CUT their risk of developing precancerous colon polyps, called adenomas, by an impressive 46 percent.
Plus, men or women who were once overweight or obese at age 20 experienced an even bigger reduction…
They cut their risk of developing precancerous polyps by a staggering 60 percent when they lost as little as 2 lbs per decade!
On the flip side, men and women who gained about 6 lbs over five years had a 30 percent higher risk of developing precancerous polyps.
Interestingly, weight loss (or weight gain) had a stronger effect on risk in early-to-middle age compared to the middle-to-late age. The researchers said this may occur because older people tend to lose weight due to the presence of disease. Whereas younger people tend to intentionally lose weight.
Of course, I was also struck by how little weight you need to lose to gain such significant benefit—just 1.1 pounds per year over 10 years! That point is especially important because, as I reported last month, research links MAJOR fluctuations in weight after age 60 to a higher risk of developing another devastating disease (dementia).
In other words, while you don’t want to pack on pounds in middle age and undertake major weight loss at age 60…trimming away slightly at any excess weight does seem to have its benefits.
At the end of the day, the take-home message for you remains the same…
Take preventative steps to avoid major weight gain as you get older
To keep your weight at a nice, steady number, I suggest finding ways to get 140 to 150 minutes of light-to-moderate exercise every week.
You should also strive to cut out ultra-processed foods (the real culprits in weight gain and chronic diseases, like cancer) and reach for the fresh, unprocessed, WHOLE foods that belong to a Mediterranean-type diet.
And remember to pay particular attention to probiotic and prebiotic foods, as they help nurture billions of healthy bacteria in your gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome. Not to mention they can help you maintain a healthy weight…and even ward off colon cancer!
You can learn more about the many health benefits of probiotic and prebiotic foods in the June 2020 issue of Insiders’ Cures (“Listen to your gut: A balanced microbiome leads to a longer, healthier life”). If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to become one!