March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. While some risk factors for colon cancer such as genetic predisposition cannot be controlled, research has shown diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight can help prevent some cancers.
The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) estimates that 45 percent of the colorectal cancers diagnosed each year in the United States are preventable. Based on extensive research, the AICR suggests that following these recommendations will reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.
Tips to lower your risk of colon cancerBe as lean as possible, without being underweight. Researchers have found evidence that excess fat, especially, around the waistline, increases your risk for colon cancer as well as heart disease and diabetes.
Eat a balanced, nutritious diet. The AICR recommends filling at least 2/3 of your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. These foods are packed with cancer-fighting properties, water and fiber, which keep you fuller longer.
Limit your intake of red meat and avoid processed meats. A diet high in red meat (beef, lamb and pork ) or processed meats (any meat that is preserved by salting, curing or smoking such as hot dogs, sausage or bacon) has been shown to increase the risk for developing colon cancer. Scientists suspect that the preservatives used in processed meats and the high amount of saturated fat found in red meats are the contributing factors. The AICR recommends limiting the intake of red meat to no more than 18 ounces (cooked weight) per week.
- Deck of cards = 3 oz of meat
- A matchbox = 1 oz of meat
Reduce your alcohol intake. There is convincing evidence that alcohol consumption is a cause of colorectal cancer in men and a probable cause in women. The AICR recommends limiting alcoholic drinks to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
One drink = 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1oz of liquor
Continue to follow the Focus On Cancer blog for cancer-fighting recipes. For more information about colorectal cancer prevention and recipes from AICR’s test kitchen, visit www.aicr.org