The Department of Health and Human Services, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, and the National Cancer Institute; 2015, state that colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in men and women.(1)
In our gut we have gut microbiota (previously known as gut flora), the population of microbes that live in our intestines. Our gut microbiota contains trillions of microorganisms from thousands of different types of bacteria. Our intestinal microbiota can weigh up to 2 kg! Each and every one of us has our unique and special microbiota template. Our microbiota works to ensure the correct digestive function of our food, especially those that the stomach and small intestine have not been able to digest. The microbiota also helps with the production of some vitamins (B and K) and plays an important role in our immune system. The microbiota begins to colonize our gut right after birth and evolves as we grow as a result of different environmental influences and our diet. The microbiota adapts to changes in our diet and environment, although in extreme cases of neglect, nutritional deficiencies, stress and a very sedentary lifestyle, a loss of balance in the intestinal microbiota can occur. This loss of balance is linked to health problems such as intestinal disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, obesity, and diabetes.
Prebiotics nourish the good bacteria to help them multiply. Prebiotics include inulin, xylo-oligosaccharides, arabinogalactan, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS). Prebiotics are not digested in the stomach or small intestine, and are only accessible to the good bacteria and not the bad once the food source reaches the large intestine. Prebiotics stimulate the multiplication of good bacteria. Prebiotics can also prevent colorectal cancer. In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Wollowski I. 2001 found that ingestion of prebiotics was associated with anticancer effects, through detoxification of genotoxins in the gut. He concluded that “colon cancer, which in a high proportion of the population is due to somatic mutations that occur during an individual’s lifetime, could be delayed or prevented by preventing these mutations. Lactic acid bacteria and prebiotics that improve Lactic acid bacteria have been shown to inactivate genotoxic carcinogens.In in vitro model systems, they have been shown to prevent mutations.DNA damage has been prevented and chemopreventive systems can be stimulated in vivo in colon tissues.From a Mechanistically, lactic acid bacteria offer potential as chemoprotectants, and therefore it is clear that more research is needed to quantify the beneficial effects for prevention of human colon cancer.
The harmful microbiota also affects the brain. Toxic metabolic byproducts and inflammatory molecules produced by harmful bacteria in the gut negatively affect the brain.
Even obesity has been linked to a harmful microbiota. In a study published in the journal Diabetes in 2007, Cani et al identified that harmful bacteria produce toxins called lipopolysaccardias (LPS) that trigger inflammation and insulin resistance, which promotes weight gain.
Prebiotics are naturally found in different plant-based foods. By consuming the following foods, you will reduce your risk of colon cancer and obesity caused by foods that promote excessive inflammation:
Onions and leeks, garlic, oats, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, artichokes, chicory root, whole grains, soybeans and other legume pods, beans, plums, bananas and black grapes, as well as raisins, as well as fresh honey, nuts, seeds .
The best foods to avoid are those foods that feed “bad” bacteria: sugar, processed foods, animal fats, and animal protein. By taking antibiotics only when needed and reducing the absorption of acid blockers and anti-inflammatory drugs that worsen the microbiota, you will reduce your risk of colon cancer and other diseases and disorders.
(1) United States Cancer Statistics: 1999-2012 Incidence and Mortality Web-Based Report.