Diabetes Self-Management Articles

These articles cover a wide range of subjects, from the most basic aspects of diabetes care to the nitty-gritty specifics.

Links not loading properly?

Some of our pages use Portable Document Format (PDF) files, which require Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download Acrobat Reader for free, visit www.adobe.com.

Sign up for our weekly e-mail newsletter and receive a FREE GIFT! Enter your e-mail below.

Learn more

Learn more about diabetes

Links to help you learn more about diabetes.

Ask a diabetes expert
Other diabetes resources
Browse article topics


Preventing Colorectal Cancer

by Judy Giusti, MS, RD, LDN, CDE

However, there are many different types of nutrients in vegetables that are protective, so it is probably not one single nutrient but the combination of nutrients working together that has protective effects.

Calcium. At least two studies have found that consuming at least 1200 milligrams of calcium per day — either in the form of supplements or supplements and food — for several years reduces the risk of developing colorectal adenomas. Calcium binds bile and fatty acids in the colon, which decreases exposure to carcinogenic chemicals. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of calcium, but full-fat varieties are also high in saturated fat. When consuming dairy products, choose low-fat cheese, skim or 1% milk, and low-fat or nonfat yogurt.

Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and some nuts and seeds decrease the inflammation associated with the initial stages of colon and other cancers.

Folate and alcohol. Folate, also called folic acid, is a B vitamin and is combined with vitamins B6 and B12 for healthy cell development. A diet low in folate can lead to precancerous cells. Since there is a rapid turnover of cells in the colon, and therefore a greater need for folate in these cells, a low folate intake is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. Folate is found in dark-green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and turnip greens, citrus fruits and juices, and dried beans and peas. Since 1996, the Food and Drug Administration has required that folic acid be added to enriched breads, cereals, flours, pasta, rice, corn meals, and other grains.

Alcohol interferes with folate metabolism, so heavy drinkers have an increased need for folate. In fact, people who have a diet low in folate and high in alcohol have an increased risk of colorectal adenomas. People who are heavy beer and liquor drinkers have been shown to have an increased risk of colorectal cancer, while those who drink wine have a decreased risk. It is recommended that beer and liquor be limited to no more than one drink a day. Getting enough folate can also help to prevent polyps from reoccurring.

Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is synthesized in the skin by sunlight and is found in some foods. There is some evidence that high blood levels of vitamin D have a protective effect against colorectal cancer. Good food sources of vitamin D include salmon, sardines, mackerel, and other fatty fish. Milk has been fortified with vitamin D since the 1930’s to prevent rickets.

Normally, exposure to sunlight provides the body with all of its vitamin D needs. However, in the northern parts of the United States, sun exposure in the winter months does not supply enough skin synthesis of vitamin D. Cloudy days, use of sunscreen, and shade also decrease skin synthesis. Perhaps not surprisingly, there is a higher incidence of colorectal cancer in the North than the South. Older people also do not synthesize vitamin D in the skin as effectively as younger people.

Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium during the digestive process, so taking a multivitamin containing vitamin D is recommended for adults over 50, people who live in northern latitudes, and people who get limited sun exposure for any reason.

Fiber. The link between dietary fiber intake and colorectal cancer is controversial. While many studies have been done on the effects of fiber consumption on colorectal cancer, the findings have been inconsistent.

It has been suggested that the inconsistency comes from the type or source of fiber being studied. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both types of fiber come from plant foods. Fruits and vegetables, which contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, appear to have the most benefit, while wheat fiber, which is primarily insoluble, and psyllium, which is about 70% soluble and 30% insoluble, do not seem to provide protection against colorectal cancer.

Page    1    2    3    4    Show All    

Also in this article:
Cancer Resources
Screening for Colorectal Cancer



More articles on Diabetic Complications



Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



Resources for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States among... Blog

MORE Tests?
It's the last thing you want to hear as you're in recovery, snuggled under a warm blanket as... Blog

Diabetes Care Must Remain a Priority During Cancer Treatment
When people who have Type 2 are diagnosed with cancer, their focus on diabetes is often moved... Blog

What should I keep in mind if I'm switching from syringes to insulin pens? Get tip