Why An Anti-Cancer Diet Matters, But Especially If You're A Millennial
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When we think about chronic diseases—like diabetes, cancer and hypertension—we normally don't picture a 30-year-old. But as many of us already know, it's not just the elderly affected by these conditions anymore. Obesity is on the rise, type 2 diabetes is often reported in adolescents and children, and 11 percent of men 20-24 years old have high blood pressure. And now, a new study shows that although colorectal cancer (CRC) rates are decreasing for older generations, they are actually increasing dramatically for millennials and Gen X.
Here's what this means for you.
This study by the American Cancer Society suggests that a person born in 1990 has two times the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer as someone born in 1950. But before we all freak out, it's still very rare for a young person to be diagnosed with this type of cancer—it's more the increase in risk (and the underlying factors that are causing this increased in risk) that's most concerning to researchers and doctors.
They conclude the study by calling for screenings to start before the age of 50 and for clinicians to take the signs of symptoms of CRC seriously in patients of all ages. They also express a great need to better understand the impact of lifestyle on this type of cancer so that we can better prevent diseases like this from plaguing younger generations.
So what's lifestyle got do with it?
According to Dr. TheHang (Hannah) Luu, an oncologist and mbg health expert, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are confirmed risk factors for CRC. And a sedentary lifestyle coupled with processed food are the main culprits for the increasing trend of CRC in young adults. Environmental pollution (like pesticides and industrial waste) have been also been reported as a cause for CRC. So basically—lifestyle and our environment have a lot to do with it.
So how can we protect ourselves? According to Dr. Luu, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and regular exercise are the preventative pathways. One study even showed that inflammation in the colon dramatically decreased after just two weeks on a low-fat and high-fiber diet, which is inspiring to hear. Diseases like CRC take time to develop and when given the right tools, your body has an amazing ability to heal and prevent disease.