Nutrition

5 tips for good gut health

Follow these simple diet tips to help support a healthy gut

 

By Denise Gabrielson

 Did you know that following 5 simple diet and lifestyle tips can support a healthy gut and reduce your risk of developing stomach cancer?

 1) Limit alcohol intake. Consuming 3 or more alcoholic drinks per day increases the risk of developing stomach cancer. Alcohol can lead to DNA damage and can affect nutrients that can protect tissues from carcinogens.

 2) Try to aim for and maintain a healthy weight. There is strong evidence linking excess weight to stomach cancer. Obesity can lead to a chronic inflammatory state which can promote cancer development.

 3) Consume a diet high in fruits and vegetables and include citrus fruits. Low intakes of fruit will result in poor gut health. Consumption of citrus fruits may decrease risk of stomach cancer. Fruit contains beneficial compounds that can protect against the damaging effects of gut inflammation. Citrus fruit provides a source of antioxidants that can protect against oxidative damage, inhibit formation of carcinogens and protect DNA.

 4) Limit intake of salt-preserved foods. Consumption of foods such as pickled vegetables and salted or dried fish increases cancer risk. Salt-preserved foods may contribute to damaging the lining of the stomach allowing for colonization of harmful bacteria such as H. Pylori.

 5) Avoid processed meat. Increasing intakes of processed meat such as bacon, sausages, ham, increases risk of cancer. These foods are also high in salt and can damage the stomach lining, lead to inflammation and can increase the formation of N-nitroso compounds which are carcinogenic.

 Although these 5 tips seem simple enough, they are the only dietary tips shown to reduce the risk of many cancers, including stomach cancer. More research is needed into the effects of sugar, an alkaline diet, and antioxidant supplementation.  

 To learn more about your gut health, visit mygutfeeling.ca. It’s a volunteer-run, Canadian non-profit organization, founded by two stomach cancer survivors, to provide support to patients, survivors and caregivers affected by stomach cancer.

 Denise Gabrielson is a Registered Dietitian, Oncology/Hematology at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

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