The CDC indicates that colon cancer is the third most common cancer that affects both men and women. It is the second cause of cancer death in the U. S. Sadly, colorectal cancer is also rising among young people.
Now more than ever, it’s important to make sure that you are proactively taking the steps to be sure your colon is healthy early in life!
The rise in colon cancer cases can in some ways be linked to the increase in eating unhealthy fast and processed food. The good news is that you can take proactive measures against colorectal cancer and disease by modifying your diet.
The Value of Whole Foods and Fiber in Our Diet
Whole foods such as grains along with fiber-dense fruits and vegetables contain more colon friendly vitamins and nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals than refined grains like white rice and white flour. They can help you to stay regulated and prevent constipation, and they lower the risk of hemorrhoids and colon polyps, which both have the potential to become cancerous. The good bacteria in our digestive tract breaks down fiber into the fuel a healthy colon needs.
What to Eat
Begin with whole foods, and reduce consumption of red meat and sugar. Consume alcohol only in moderation and drink plenty of water.
Whole grains are rich in fiber and will help to cleanse the colon. Oats, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa are all great sources. Try to incorporate 3 – 5 servings per day into your meals.
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale and most leafy greens are fiber-dense and are always healthy choices. Spinach and chard can be included here too. Two thirds of your dinner plate should contain healthy veggies. Serve broccoli steamed on its own or mixed in with some of your favorite recipes. Try teriyaki chicken with broccoli. For an even better nutrient-rich option you can substitute brown rice or even quinoa in place of white rice. If your health requires you to consume less carbohydrates and starches cauliflower rice is also a great substitute.
Salmon, sardines, and trout are all loaded with omega 3 fats, which are good for the colon and help to reduce and prevent cancer cells from developing.
Seeds are a healthy snack food that help care for your colon while also keeping you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. For example, one teaspoon of chia seeds provides 10 grams of fiber.
Beans and lentils, also known as legumes, have tons of fiber and can reduce your risk of colon cancer. Try this black bean and spinach enchiladas recipe for a delicious and healthful meal that is great for your colon.
Yogurt contains probiotics, which introduce healthy bacteria to your gut to decrease your risk of colon cancer. As a bonus, it will also decrease any gas you may experience from eating loads of beans and leafy vegetables.
Fruits like apples, pears, raspberries, oranges, and bananas are all delicious, sweet, and full of fiber.
Drink more water as you add fiber to your diet to avoid excessive bloating and to ensure a smoother transit through the digestive system. It is also advised to add the fiber slowly or you will risk lots of uncomfortable and frequent trips to the bathroom.
The American Cancer Society tells us, “Maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, limiting alcohol consumption, and eating a healthy diet reduce the risk of CRC by more than one-third (37%).”
Colorectal Wellness Center will be opening soon to assist you with regular colorectal screenings, and to help you discover other ways you can care for your colon!