Colorectal is a term for colon cancer, which occurs in the large intestine, and rectal cancer, which is cancer of the end of the colon. It is still not clear on what causes this cancer. Genetics? Probably. Poor diet? Definitely.
Staying at a healthy weight and being physically active are important in lowering your risk in developing colorectal cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends the following:
- Watch the scale. Stay lean!
- Move it! Be physically active 30 minutes daily
- Avoid surgery drinks and foods
- Consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes
- Limit or eliminate alcohol
- Limit red and processed meats
- In fact, consuming 1.7 ounce portion of processed meat per day increases risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. (Beef, pork, lamb, goat, bacon, ham, salami, packaged lunch meats, sausage and hot dogs). The science is strong here and this recommendation should not be ignored.
Want to do more?
Bump Up Your Fiber Intake
Risk drops 10% for every 10 grams increase in fiber. Traditionally, fiber was classified as soluble (linked with lower blood cholesterol) or insoluble (linked with better intestinal regularity). While these terms are still seen in some studies, each includes types of fiber that act quite differently. Increase your fiber intake by consuming fresh fruits and vegetables. Consume whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat couscous, bulgur, barley, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta. Include more legumes through your week! Legumes are dried beans (peas and lentils). Munch on nuts and seeds as a healthy, high fiber snack.
Eat More Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and veggies provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Antioxidants are basically your body’s defense. These powerful plant compounds help fight free radicals. Always reach for the real deal instead of a supplement. Studies show we better utilize antioxidants in the natural form versus a pill. Two-thirds of your plate should be fruits and veggies.
There is evidence that shows consuming garlic can reduce your risk of colon cancer. Add chopped garlic to everything! Whole grain pasta dishes, soups, stews, stir fries, vegetables and meats.
Milk- Calcium & Vitamin D
Several studies show that calcium and vitamin D help protect against colorectal cancer. Bump up your intake through food! No need to go overboard here and start taking supplements (unless indicated by your doctor). There is a possible increase risk of prostate cancer in men with high calcium intake. Think milk, cheese, yogurt, salmon, dark greens, and eggs to help meet your needs.
Colorectal Cancer Nutrition Plan
Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal with ½ cup blueberries with glass of low fat milk
Snack: 2% Greek yogurt, with fresh fruit
Lunch: lentil soup, whole grain crackers, kale salad with 2 Tbsp vinaigrette
Snack: ¼ cup raw almonds, sliced bell peppers with hummus
Dinner: Baked salmon, 1 cup spinach salad, ½ cup roasted broccoli with garlic, ½ cup brown rice
Caroline manages the internal wellness program to improve the health of Methodist Health System’s employee and dependent population. A University of Oklahoma graduate, Caroline has 10 years experience as a registered and licensed dietitian.