Foods to Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk

Cynthia Clifton  |  3/26/2014 10:28:29 PM

Let the truth be told, that what we eat has a tremendous impact on our overall health. Eating food that is unhealthy can be a major risk factor for various kinds of diseases, from heart diseases to cancer.

What is colorectal cancer? Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts either in the colon or rectum and is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and leading cause of death in women and men. This is why it is extremely important to understand that eating healthy can reduce or prevent this kind of disease.

Here are some good-for-you choices to help reduce colorectal cancer risks:

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables a healthy diet and main players in providing natural sources of vitamins and minerals to the body. They also supply antioxidants. Antioxidants boost body defenses against free radicals that can damage cells through oxidization. Some antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables are carotene, beta-carotene and lutein. Foods that contain high levels or antioxidants includes: berries, carrots, citrus fruits and dark, leafy vegetables.

Brown rice (and other whole grains)
It has not been proven that eating more fiber helps reduce or prevent colorectal cancer. Fiber does help by keeping the digestive tract clean by moving waste out of the body. Research found that eating brown rice does reduce the risk of having colon polyps (precancerous growths) by 40 percent. The reason is because brown rice has a high percentage of fiber.

Lean protein and fish
Research has shown that eating red meat does produce a high risk or colorectal cancer. Other meats that should be avoided includes: processed, salted, smoked or cured meats. Meats that are good to eat includes: lean poultry and fish. Limit the amount of red meat eaten to small portions once a week. Make sure the red meat is lean and all of the fat is trimmed away.

Legumes
Research shows that eating legumes three times a week reduces the risk of colon polyps by 33 percent. This includes peanuts, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and peas.

Ginger
Research shows taking ginger supplements for approximately 28 days reduces colon inflammation. However, inflammation is linked to colon cancer.

Cynthia Clifton is the LSU AgCenter Associate Extension Agent/Area Nutrition Agent for St. John Parish. She can be reached at the St. John Parish LSU AgCenter Extension Office at 985-497-3261.

Resources: www.healthywomen.org

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