The connection between metabolic health and colon cancer. And how to increase your metabolic health

There’s now yet another reason to pay attention to your metabolic health. According to a study published by the American Association for Cancer Research, post-menopausal women of a normal weight, but who are metabolically unhealthy, are at a “significantly higher risk for colorectal cancer” than those who are metabolically healthy.

This is a big deal because, according to the study’s authors, 30 percent of normal-weight adults worldwide are “metabolically unhealthy.” This is surprising, given metabolic health is normally associated with obesity. Science Daily explains a person’s metabolism is considered unhealthy when he or she suffers from at least three of the following symptoms: “elevated waist circumference, elevated blood pressure, elevated levels of triglycerides, elevated levels of glucose, and lower levels of HDL-C.”

The study, which looked at 5,000 post-menopausal women of a normal weight, found that those who were metabolically unhealthy had a “more than two-fold higher risk for colorectal cancer” compared with women who were metabolically healthy. The findings are of grave significance, given colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in American women. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only breast and lung cancer are diagnosed more frequently.

Maintaining metabolic health is important for both genders and at all ages. Continue reading below to learn the best scientifically proven tips for metabolic health:

1. Green tea. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found drinking 5- 6 cups of green tea daily is useful for maintaining metabolic health. As a bonus, the study found green tea is equally as effective for maintaining cardiovascular health.

2. Whole grains. Researchers at Kansas State University analyzed several studies that consider the effect dietary fiber and whole grains have on metabolic health. They concluded dietary fiber may help keep body weight in check and improve the metabolism of carbohydrates. However, more research is still needed in both areas. It is therefore best to talk to your doctor about the right amount of dietary fibers and whole grains to include in your diet to match your specific metabolic health needs.

3. Milk. The medical journal Nutrition & Metabolism published a 2013 study that found dairy protein promotes lean body mass and metabolic function.

4. Probiotics. A study published by Cambridge University Press concluded probiotics, which work by selectively modifying microbiota in the gut, strengthen metabolic and colon health.

5. Water-based exercise. Water-based exercise is an excellent way to stay physically fit, especially for people for whom weight-bearing exercise can be damaging or difficult. While researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand say more research is necessary to definitively conclude the effectiveness of such exercise on metabolic health, they note regular water-based exercise has been shown to be beneficial for cardiorespiratory fitness, strength, and body fat distribution.