Drink This High-Protein Beverage To Reduce Your Risk Of Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer impacting Americans. The cancer cells attack the tissues in the large intestine and affect how the body processes nutrients and waste. Some people might not notice the symptoms of colon cancer at first, but one of the early signs of colorectal cancer is a change in poop habits, such as diarrhea or constipation that lasts for a week or more. Others might feel gas or notice blood in their stool. Sometime, colon cancer symptoms might appear as unexplained weight loss or fatigue.

Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and smoking are factors that increase your risk of developing colon cancer. You're also at a higher risk for colon cancer after you reach the age of 50. Research has suggested that diet plays a major role in the development of this cancer; eating excessive amounts of processed and red meats and has been shown to increase risk. But, one beverage that may reduce the incidence of colon and bowel cancer — while offering protein and vitamin D — is milk. 

Milk and fermented milk can lower the risk of developing colon cancer

2018 study in the British Journal of Nutrition draws a link between the consumption of milk and colon cancer risk. A study of Norwegian women suggests that those participants did not drink milk often were more likely to develop colorectal cancer, but more research will need to be performed in order to establish this connection concretely. Experts believe that the likely reasoning for this is the amount of calcium in the milk — which is also the mineral responsible for bone growth. 

A cup of low-fat milk has 106 calories and a little over 8 grams of protein. Each cup of milk also offers a dose of B vitamins, particularly riboflavin and vitamin B12, which helps support energy levels, nerve function, and brain health.

Regular milk isn't the only beneficial dairy product that can decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. You could also try fermented milk, which you might see labeled as kefir. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Dairy Science tested strains of the Lactobacillus bacteria, one of the primary bacteria in kefir, in the lab to see its potential antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties. The strains of the bacteria produced substances that slowed the growth of colon cancer cells without harming normal colon cells.

What other foods are linked to colon cancer?

A 2021 article published in JAMA Network Open found that diets high in red meat and alcohol were at a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer. The research suggests that drinking more than four alcoholic beverages a day can dramatically increase risk, though suggestive evidence also draws a connection between moderate alcohol intake and colon cancer incidence. Besides drinking milk, you can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by eating foods that are high in fiber. There is also strong evidence supporting that calcium-rich foods and yogurt can lower your risk of colon cancer. 

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 100,000 people will get diagnosed with colon cancer just this year. Although colon cancer is easier to treat when it's detected early through regular screenings, more than 50,000 people are expected to die from colon cancer each year. You should begin getting screened for colon cancer beginning at age 45 and make alterations to your diet to help decrease your risk of developing this potentially deadly cancer.