March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Below we’ve shared some great information about eating healthier to prevent colorectal cancer and the importance of regular screening!
Prevention starts with nutrition
There’s no better time than now to start making healthy changes to support colon health. Eating more fiber is key – and most Americans don’t get enough fiber! High fiber foods include delicious options like oatmeal, nuts, apples, beans, whole wheat flour, and vegetables.
Daily Fiber Recommendations:
- Men 50 and younger: 38 grams
- Men older than 50: 30 grams
- Women 50 and younger: 25 grams
- Women older than 50: 21 grams
Fiber is essential for your colon’s health, but it also helps your digestive system, heart, and blood sugar too. Adding more fiber to your diet is a win-win-win! It’s okay to start slow and easy. Old habits can’t be broken and new habits can’t be formed overnight, so take your time. Here are some ideas to start making healthy changes:
- Swap your breakfast cereal or white toast in the morning with steel cut oats or whole grain toast.
- Instead of reaching for the potato chips, pack some vegetables like broccoli, carrots, or cauliflower with your lunch.
- For dinner, make sure at least one side dish is a non-potato vegetable. Brussel sprouts, asparagus, and squash are easy-to-cook options!
Some recipes to try:
These quick breakfast tacos are nutritious, delicious, and easy to make. They offer 8 grams of fiber. For a vegan version, swap out the eggs for beans and skip the cheddar cheese.
Did you know raspberries are very high in fiber? This raspberry yogurt cereal bowl from Eating Well is packed with nutrition. Cinnamon and chocolate chips add a sweet touch.
Now that you’re a fiber-adding expert, maybe you’re wondering what else you can do to prevent colorectal cancer (and live an overall healthier life)! Experts recommend limiting how much red meat (beef, pork, and lamb) and processed meats (hot dogs and some lunch meat) you eat. Regular exercise also makes a huge difference – at least 150 minutes a week is recommended.
Regular screening can save your life
Experts recommend that anyone 45-75 years old should get regularly screened for colorectal cancers. Depending on your family history and other risk factors, you may need to start screening at an earlier age. While colonoscopy is the most-known screening, there are many screening options, including non-intrusive at-home tests. Talk to your healthcare provider about screening options right for you. Learn more about the different kinds of screenings from the CDC.
Does hearing the word “colonoscopy” send a shiver up your spine? That’s a normal response, even when colonoscopies can be life-saving. Check out this quick video that should answer some questions you have about this screening procedure.