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What Switching Your Diet for 2 Weeks Can Do For Your Colon Health

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38743397_m (2) Do you feel that changing your eating habits after all these years won’t produce much of a benefit? If so, we have good news for you — switching to a healthier diet for a mere two weeks can produce a significant boost in colon health.

Diet Swap Caused Drastic Changes

A new study published in Nature Communications shows a two-week diet swap caused what a cancer expert referred to as “fairly drastic” changes in the colon. Rural South Africans who ate a diet typically consumed by African Americans had digestive changes that could eventually result in colon cancer. Conversely, African Americans who changed from a western diet to a South African menu had big improvements in the health of their colon. These findings led chief author Stephen O’Keefe, M.D., to conclude, “It’s never too late to modify the risk of colon cancer.”

Prior to the experiment, researchers knew that something about the South African lifestyle is protective against colon cancer, as the disease afflicts five out of every 100,000 residents of the area, compared to 65 out of every 100,000 African Americans. However, the scientists didn’t know if the difference was due to diet or some other lifestyle factor. Therefore, to explore the theory of dietary causation, they put it to the test.

In the study, after noting the dietary constituents of 20 African Americans and 20 rural South Africans, colonoscopies were conducted. It was no surprise to see that the African Americans had more polyps, which are precancerous growths that can lead to cancer. In addition, an examination of the microbes and digestive compounds in the gut revealed the South Africans had more of the beneficial bacteria and digestive compounds associated with colon health.

The Big Switch

Next, came the big switch where African Americans ate the low-fat, high-fiber diet typical of rural South Africa; while the South Africans ate the high-fat, low-fiber diet found in western countries. After two weeks of the dietary exchange, the inflammation in the African Americans’ bowel lessened, but the condition of the South Africans’ bowel deteriorated. The diet swap also altered the types of bacteria in the gut and also affected the function of the microbes.

The scientists were startled to see how clear the changes were and what a short amount of time it took to alter the gut with diet. “In comparison with their usual diets, the food changes resulted in remarkable reciprocal changes,” the researchers said. “This suggests that a move to a fiber rich, low-fat diet may impact the high levels of colon cancer in the African American population.”

Comparison of the Two Diets

According to O’Keefe, the South African diet contained five times the fiber content of the African American diet. The African diet also contained fruit and vegetables, while the American diet was high in red meat and refined carbohydrates.

The American Diet:
• Beef sausage, pancakes, breakfast steak, hash brown and Rice Krispies for breakfast.
• Hamburgers, French fries, spaghetti and meatballs, hot dogs and chili for lunch
• Meatloaf, Salisbury steak, noodles, mashed potatoes, roast beef, rice, macaroni and cheese for dinner.

The African Diet:
• Corn fritters, salmon croquettes, cheese grits, bananas, biscuits for breakfast
• Catfish, mango, tater tots, kale salad, hush puppies for lunch
• Okra, grits, lentils, pineapple, fish taco for dinner.

If you haven’t already changed from a western diet to a healthy eating plan, maybe it’s time to make the big switch.

Sources:
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-32494846
http://www.nbcnews.com/health/cancer/diet-swap-shows-how-junk-food-might-give-you-cancer-n349886
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-04-two-week-international-diet-swap-potential.html


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.


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