By Tina Jacob
“You are what you eat” is a common phrase many of us have heard growing up and may have not taken too seriously. Maybe we should have! Did you know that the food we eat actually plays a major role in our risk for developing colon cancer, among other diseases? March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and we know that 80-90% of colon cancer cases are directly related to our lifestyle behaviors, including diet. People who consume a diet high in fat and red meat but low in fiber, are at the highest risk of developing colon cancer. But changing your diet sounds hard right? It doesn’t have to be! Making very simple diet changes can have a huge effect in lowering your risk. On the other hand, if you have already been diagnosed with colon cancer, making these same changes can help improve your treatment experience and reduce the chance for reoccurrence! Side effects from the treatment of colon cancer can cause you to feel tired and weak but maintaining a healthy diet will help combat those side effects, making treatment more effective because your body is stronger.
Increasing fiber in our diet helps the colon stay clean by keeping us regular and therefore lessens the burden on our immune system. Adding whole-grains, broccoli, cabbage, berries, or leafy greens to our diet adds that extra fiber that we need to promote a healthier colon! Above are a few examples of great options to help increase your fiber intake.
In order to maintain a healthy weight it is recommended that females consume 25 grams of fiber a day and males consume 38 grams. Adding that much fiber to your diet may seem intimidating but it is easier than it sounds! By switching out white bread, white rice, and regular pasta with whole wheat bread, whole wheat flour, and whole-wheat pasta you have already increased your fiber intake without sacrificing taste! Unhealthy snacks can also be switched out for fresh fruit or a handful of almonds which will leave you feeling full and improve your overall health. Remember, “you are what you eat” so if you’re eating healthy you will be healthier! Make the switch and choose to boost your diet by adding more fiber and fresh produce so that you can be a healthier you!