The World Cancer Research Foundation released a report based on 99 scientific studies on colorectal cancer, a common cancer among all people of the world and also one of the most preventable.

Lower colon cancer risk

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The World Cancer Research Foundation released a report based on 99 scientific studies on colorectal cancer worldwide. This is a common cancer among all people of the world and also one of the most preventable. They were looking specifically at certain lifestyle factors that we have control over to see which might be a risk factor for colorectal cancer. The researchers assessed diet, weight, and physical activity. The studies included information on 29 million adults.

Lifestyle factors that offer strong protection from colorectal cancer:

  1. All forms of physical activity, on a regular or daily basis
  2. Less than two drinks per day of alcohol
  3. Avoidance of all processed meats – that includes bacon, sausage, hotdogs and deli meats
  4. Maintaining a low body fat composition

Lifestyle factors that may offer protection from colorectal cancer:

  1. Avoiding red meats most of the time – that includes beef, pork, lamb, and veal
  2. Eating/drinking dairy products – milk, yogurt and cheeses
  3. Whole grains: brown rice, barley, whole oats, etc. – at least three servings/day
  4. Eating regularly high fiber foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole-grains

Simple steps in the right direction are the easiest way to reduce colorectal cancer risk but if you have a family history of colorectal cancer risk, you might want to be a little more aggressive with the changes that you make. For example:

  • If you routinely pack up some type of deli meat sandwich at lunch, switch it out for homemade chicken salad or peanut butter
  • If red meat is frequently served at dinner replace a meal once or twice a week with fish or poultry
  • If whole wheat breads are not your thing, ease into a multigrain or oatmeal bread for whole grains with a milder taste

Make one or two small changes at a time toward a lifestyle of eating well and being active to reduce your risk for colorectal cancer.

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.