How to Prevent Gut Diseases and Colon Cancer With These Seven Foods

Eating for your gut doesn't need to include expensive probiotic drinks. It can be as simple as eating everyday foods like red grapes to ward off diseases like Crohn's or colon cancer.

Researchers at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom found that pomegranates, red grapes, pears, mushrooms, lentils, soybeans and green peas all contain natural compounds that could inhibit inflammation and diseases of the gut, according to a press release.

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They believe it works because these compounds activate a natural process in our body known as autophagy. This allows our system to keep things balanced by getting rid of damaged components in addition to preventing cells and tissue from breaking down. When the process works as it should, it not only helps prevent gut problems, but also diabetes, autoimmune diseases and infections.

The new research from the University of Warwick revealed that a protein known as Kenny can build up and cause inflammation when it's not broken down by autophagy. Simply including certain foods into your diet, the researchers conclude, could help trigger autography and significantly affect your health.

Shown is a pomegranate from a fruit vendor in Afghanistan. New research indicates that the fruit could possibly prevent digestive diseases. JAVED TANVEER/AFP/Getty Images

"Natural compounds contained in fruits and vegetables like pomegranates, red grapes, pears, mushrooms, lentils, soybeans and green peas have been shown to activate autophagy, therefore inclusion of the above in our diet would help to prevent inflammation and alleviate the symptoms of gut diseases," said study co-author Ioannis Nezis, cell biologist at the university.

It's important to note that the study was conducted in fruit flies, so it's not known that Kenny builds up in our bodies in a similar fashion. However, this does add to the mounting research supporting eating foods with natural compounds for gut health.

Grapes shown in California's wine country. A new study says eating the fruit could help with digestive problems. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Dr. Lin Chang, a gastrointestinal expert at the University of California, believes that many gut problems could be corrected by living a healthier lifestyle.

"I see a lot of lifestyle-related GI issues, and there are often no quick fixes for that," she said in a story on the National Institute of Health website. "In general, people do well when they create a more routine schedule, eat a healthy diet and smaller more frequent meals, add in some exercise, and get a good amount of sleep."

Chang recommends starting small by increasing the amount of fiber in your diet as most Americans don't get enough. Limiting the amount of processed foods can also help. There is some evidence that additives known as emulsifiers could impact the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut.

So, instead of stocking up on those gut shots or probiotic chips, you may be better off hitting the produce section.