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Healthy eating for a healthy Colon

Ginger – the next big thing in the fight against colon cancer. Or so a preliminary study from the University of Michigan tells us. Funded by the National Cancer Institute in the US, a small group of 30 patients were enrolled – half were given ginger root supplements totalling 2 grams, and the other half placebo. After 28 days,

inflammatory markers associated with colon inflammation – and presumably colon cancer – were noted to be significantly reduced in the test subjects given ginger supplements.

Good news not just for the organic & al-natural buffs out there. To the Singaporean foodies, ginger is readily available and an ingredient in many Asian dishes. But before we rush to stock up on the supplements or convert our usual “teh-susu” to “teh-halia” (ginger milk tea), let’s pause for a moment to consider:

    this is a small study
    what is the natural equivalent of “2 grams ginger supplement”?
    what are the possible side-effects of long-term ginger supplementation?

    After all, we’ve seen many health fads and wonder foods once lauded but later  condemned. The latest being Vitamin E – we’re now told it increases prostate cancer incidence when taken in sufficient amounts.

So what are some dietary habits known to be good for colonic health?

They are:

1)    Fibre – take your daily recommended 3 to 4 servings of vegetables and fruits to scrub your bowels
2)    Anti-oxidants – via dark leafy vegetables or beverages such as green tea
3)    Water – sufficient amounts to prevent constipation and encourage regular bowel movement
4)    Avoid processed meats such as ham, bacon & luncheon meat -  attributed to increased colon cancer risk presumably due to the preservatives (nitrates & nitrites)

Colon cancer remains one of the top killers in Singapore and the world over. Regular screening via stool occult blood is recommended for individuals above 50 years old. Colonoscopy is fast catching on as a viable alternative due to its decreasing cost.

Be tested if you are having changes in your bowel habits or if you fall into the above 50 age bracket.

For now, taking all foods and supplements in moderation is probably the most sensible thing to do.

A good glass of teh-halia occasionally from the hawker centre probably wouldn’t hurt either.

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