Nutrition for a New Year

It’s a new year, new you! People everywhere are still sticking to their resolutions, and for many of us that means a healthier lifestyle. Did you know that nutrition can play a role in colon cancer? In fact, the number one cancer that one can prevent through diet is colon cancer.

A healthy, balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, lower fat milk products and healthy fats is not only good for us, it can also decrease our risk of colon cancer.

Here are some summarized diet tips from our friends over at the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. Start incorporating these tips into your meal plans today!

  1. Consume a diet high in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach are highly recommended for their nutritional content and whole fruits are excellent sources of carbohydrates to consume.

  2. Replace white flour foods with whole grains such as oats, barley, and whole wheat. Refined sugars and grains have been stripped of their nutritional value and stand to increase the glycemic load of a meal.

  3. Drink more milk. It may protect against colorectal cancer thanks to two key nutrients - calcium and vitamin D. The calcium seems to help prevent, as well as moderate, the growth of benign polyps in your colon, one of the early signs of colon cancer. Vitamin D then helps the body absorb the calcium and helps inhibit the growth of cancerous cells in the colon.

  4. Limit your intake of red and processed meats. Studies have identified cancer causing agents (carcinogens) not only in processed meat, but in a diet that is rich in red meat (i.e. beef, pork, lamb, veal). Consider alternative sources of protein such as poultry, low-fat dairy products, legumes, and fish.

  5. Drink plenty of water to help your body’s digestive processes. Chronic dehydration can contribute to a number of health problems including constipation, which is the inability to move the digestive contents through the bowels. Aiming to drink 6-8 medium glasses of fluid daily can help to prevent sluggish bowels. Good news: tea, coffee, and fruit juices count towards fluid intake, and may bring with them other nutrients or benefits!

  6. Replace trans fats (found in cakes, cookies, fried foods, margarine, donuts, pastries and chips) and saturated fats (found in butter and red meat) with healthy fats called unsaturated fats (found in fatty fish like salmon, avocados, olive oil, and nuts).

  7. Reduce sugar intake. There is a large volume of scientific evidence showing the link between sugar and increased colon cancer risk.

Mikala Harden