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10 Foods That Cause Polyps

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Colon Polyp

Colon polyps, or colorectal polyps, are fleshy growths which can develop on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. They may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Malignancies can take years to develop. Proper screening usually creates ample time to identify pre-malignant polyps; if not caught, however, they can develop into colorectal cancer, one of the leading causes of death in North America and Western Europe.

Several factors can lead to the formation of these polyps. Lifestyle, and heredity represent the most common causes of polyp development. A direct correlation between certain foods and polyps has also been identified. inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is also related.

The link between IBD and colorectal cancers has been known for nearly a hundred years, and researchers have recently focused on better understanding the role of intestinal inflammation on polyp development. The specific roles of molecular biology, immune pathology and genetics and their relation to IBD and colon malignancies such as polyps are areas of ongoing research. [1]

Studies of individuals with IBD now recognize the longer duration of IBD, or other intestinal diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, the greater the chance of developing colorectal cancer. In fact, the level of risk now acknowledged has led to the recommendation of earlier and more frequent colonoscopies in an effort to identify malignancies in high-risk patients. [2]

This new research and holistic focus on colorectal health lead to a greater understanding of the impact of diet on polyp development. As such, the following foods can be linked directly or indirectly with polyp development.

1. Red Meat

Good quality red meat does possess nutritional value. Despite this, studies have found a high consumption of red meat has been independently tied to increased risk of polyp formation. [3]

2. Processed Meats

Recent studies has found consumption of processed meat products created nearly a 50% increase in developing polyps and colorectal cancer. [4]

3. White Tubers

Tubers provide an important nutritional source for many people around the globe. Potatoes, for example, represent one type of tuber. The bad news is a 2012 study found that white tubers provide a four-fold increased risk in the development of colorectal polyps. [5]

4. Alcohol

For a long time, the corrosive effects of alcohol on the gastrointestinal tract have been known. Looking more closely at the impact of alcohol on the colon, researchers found that heavy drinkers were more likely to have polyps when compared to individuals suffering from IBS or those with a hereditary tendency. [6]

5. Gluten

While the previous four foods have shown a direct link to polyp development, conditions such as IBD can lead to polyps and potential colorectal cancers. Gluten is a common culprit in aggravating IBD.

For years, medical experts and researchers rejected gluten as a problem only for patients with celiac disease. In recent years, research has proven many non-celiac patients do suffer from gluten ingestion, and benefit from a gluten-free diet. Both groups of patients have shared similar symptoms including intestinal redness, immune-response, and functional abnormalities. [7]

Based on the research, anyone concerned with colorectal health should minimally observe their response to ingested gluten. And, like gluten, several other foods are associated with intestinal inflammation.

The 5 Other Foods to Watch

Bloating, gas, flatulence, and abdominal discomfort are problems that affect many people who suffer from IBD, a known ailment linked to polyp development. While researchers have observed foods which exacerbate these symptoms vary from one individual to another, there are a few which appear to affect all IBD patients. These foods are:

  • Fried foods
  • Soda
  • Spicy foods
  • Coffee
  • Dairy

For anyone suffering from IBD, these foods may worsen the condition increasing the likelihood of complications, such as polyp formation. [8] To minimize the potential for polyps or other intestinal ailments, the best approach is to eat a variety of natural foods and avoid those that have been identified to cause problems.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. Dyson JK, Rutter MD. Colorectal cancer in inflammatory bowel disease: what is the real magnitude of the risk? World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Aug 7;18(29):3839-48. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i29.3839.
  2. Lukas M. Inflammatory bowel disease as a risk factor for colorectal cancer. Dig Dis. 2010;28(4-5):619-24. doi: 10.1159/000320276. Epub 2010 Nov 18.
  3. Fu Z, Shrubsole MJ, Smalley WE, Wu H, Chen Z, Shyr Y, Ness RM, Zheng W. Lifestyle factors and their combined impact on the risk of colorectal polyps. Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Nov 1;176(9):766-76. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws157. Epub 2012 Oct 18.
  4. Zandonai AP, Sonobe HM, Sawada NO. [The dietary risk factors for colorectal cancer related to meat consumption]. Rev Esc Enferm USP. 2012 Feb;46(1):234-9.
  5. Ramadas A, Kandiah M. Food intake and colorectal adenomas: a case-control study in Malaysia. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2009;10(5):925-32.
  6. M Bardou, S Montembault, V Giraud, A Balian, E Borotto, C Houdayer, F Capron, J-C Chaput, S Naveau. Excessive alcohol consumption favours high risk polyp or colorectal cancer occurrence among patients with adenomas: a case control study. Gut 2002;50:38-42 doi:10.1136/gut.50.1.38.
  7. Mearin F, Montoro M. [Irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease and gluten.] Med Clin (Barc). 2013 Sep 9. pii: S0025-7753(13)00459-4. doi: 10.1016/j.medcli.2013.06.006.
  8. Cohen AB, Lee D, Long MD, Kappelman MD, Martin CF, Sandler RS, Lewis JD. Dietary patterns and self-reported associations of diet with symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Dig Dis Sci. 2013 May;58(5):1322-8. doi: 10.1007/s10620-012-2373-3. Epub 2012 Aug 26.

Posted In: Colon Health,Colon Health Blog,Dangers,Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Jeannine Piro

    I’m hoping that we all know how important it is to poop at least once a day, and know the size, shape, consistency as well. DR Oz put it out there so well. The fiber you get from eating fresh RAW foods is incredible and unmatched by any other food group. So crunch away to good colon health!

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