An Ounce of Prevention: 4 Tips to Help Reduce Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal Cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women (American Cancer Society).
According to the American Cancer Society, “Although our genes influence our risk of cancer, MOST OF THE DIFFERENCE IN CANCER RISK BETWEEN PEOPLE IS DUE TO FACTORS THAT ARE NOT INHERITED. Avoiding tobacco products, staying at a healthy weight, staying active throughout life, and eating a healthy diet may greatly reduce a person’s lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer.”
How you can reduce your risk through diet:
- Increase your fiber intake from whole grains rather than refined white grains.
- What are whole grains and what are refined grains? Whole grains contain each part of the grain (bran, endosperm, and germ) with all of their nutrients. They include oats, brown or wild rice, whole wheat bread or pasta. Refined grains are those that have had parts of the grain and therefore some of the nutrients removed. Some examples are white bread, white rice, and pasta.
- How much fiber? Women should consume 25 or more grams per day. Men should consume 31 or more grams per day. You can meet your fiber recommendations by eating at least three servings of fruits and four servings of vegetables and making your grain choices whole grains daily. Legumes such beans and lentils are also high in fiber.
- Eat fewer red meats.
- What is red meat? All mammalian muscle meat including beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse and goat (IARC/WHO).
- How much red meat? There are no recommendations on exactly how much red meat is ok. In general, avoid eating red meat on a daily basis. Aim for once a week, if any.
- What can I eat for protein instead of red meat? Chicken, turkey, fish such as salmon and tuna, eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, nuts, peanut butter, beans, and soy.
- Avoid processed meats.
- What is a processed meat? Meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermenting, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation. Examples include hot dogs, ham, sausages, corned beef, beef jerky, and canned meat (IARC/WHO).
- How much processed meat? There are no recommendations on exactly how much processed meat is ok. In general, avoid it as much as possible.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Which fruits and vegetables are best? A variety of dark and brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, orange and red bell peppers, berries, etc.
- What about frozen and canned? Frozen can be just as or more nutritious than fresh. Canned may be slightly lower in nutrients and may have a lot of added sugar or salt but can still be beneficial.
Try the recipes below to help incorporate these recommendations.
- Homemade breakfast sandwich: Top a whole grain English muffin with a cooked egg, handful of baby spinach, a couple tomato slices, and sharp cheddar cheese.
- Omelet muffins
- Egg boost oatmeal
- California chicken wrap: In a whole grain tortilla wrap 2oz. sliced chicken breast, handful of mixed greens, ¼ sliced avocado, 1 Tbsp. dried cranberries, and a spread of hummus or light cream cheese.
- Quinoa toss
- Triple berry salad