By Sabrina Oliver, RD, CSO, CDN
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. To reduce your risk, maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, and drink alcohol in moderation.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, for every 10g of fiber you eat, the risk of colorectal cancer is reduced by 10%!
High fiber foods include:
- Whole grains: quinoa, bran cereal, bulgur, sweet potatoes, barley, oats, whole grain bread
Look for choices with 100% whole wheat, rye, oats, or bran as the 1st or 2nd ingredient
- Legumes: baked beans, lima beans, lentils, chick peas, pinto beans, white beans, navy beans
Add beans to soups, salads, and casseroles to boost your fiber intake
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, flax seeds, chia seeds
Nuts make a perfect on the go snack; add seeds to your morning smoothie
- Fruits and vegetables: artichokes, blackberries, blueberries, apples, pears, avocados, broccoli
Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, and eat them with the peels and skin on
Drink enough water to help process your fiber without GI distress – try to drink at least 8 cups daily.
Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs, ham, sausage, bacon, corned beef, salami, deli/ luncheon meats, and beef jerky. These are meats that have been changed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes.
Limit red meat including beef, pork, and lamb to less than 18 oz of cooked red meat per week, which is the same as eating about 3 oz (the size of a deck of cards), 6 times per week.
Other delicious sources of protein to enjoy include fish, poultry, nuts and nut butters, eggs, and low fat dairy products.
Here is one of my favorite vegetarian recipes for you to make and enjoy – it is packed with protein and fiber!
Lentil Salad (Adapted from American Institute for Cancer Research)
6 servings; 1 cup per serving
- 2 cups dried green or brown lentils
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup capers
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 1 medium cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Rise lentils and drain. Place in a pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes until soft.
- Remove from heat, drain, and rinse under cold running water.
- Whisk all of the vinaigrette ingredients together.
- Add lentils to a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette, then add and mix in the onion and capers.
- Mix with arugula, cucumber, walnuts, and feta just before serving.
Nutrition facts per serving: 440 calories, 22 g fat, 46 g carbohydrate, 22 g protein, 10 g dietary fiber.
Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html
6 Steps to Protect Yourself from Colorectal Cancer. American Institute for Cancer Research. http://www.aicr.org/enews/2017/03-march/enews-6-steps-to-protect-yourself-from-colorectal-cancer.html
World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/.