Proper nutrition and diet are important in helping to prevent many diseases, and colon or rectal cancer is no exception. There is no such thing as a cancer prevention diet, but there are things you can eat to reduce your personal risk of developing colon or rectal cancer.
Diets that include lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains have been linked with a decreased risk of colon or rectal cancer. While eating red meat and processed meats have been linked with an increased risk of the disease. Read on to learn more about foods to lower the risk of colon or rectal cancer.
A 2017 report by the AICR and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) yielded some good news: “There is a lot people can do to dramatically lower their risk.” The findings are “robust and clear,” Dr. Giovanucci says: “Diet and lifestyle have a major role in colorectal cancer.”
Specifically, the report suggests that eating whole grains daily may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by about 17 percent. This adds to previous scientific evidence that fiber-containing foods may decrease the risk of this particular cancer. In the report, scientists conducted a comprehensive analysis of 99 existing scientific studies, including data on about 29 million people. Of those, over a quarter of a million had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
What exactly qualifies as whole grain?
Whole grains include both the grain’s bran and germ, says colorectal cancer expert Darrell Gray, MD, of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, who was not directly involved in the study.
“The bran is the multi-layered outer skin of the edible kernel. It contains important antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber. The germ is the part of the grain that has the potential to sprout into a new plant. It contains many B vitamins, some protein, minerals, and healthy fats. “The whole grain is a rich source of phytochemicals and antioxidants that have anticancer properties,” Dr. Gray explains.
He adds that “whole grains are thought to exert beneficial effects in colorectal cancer prevention by lowering fasting insulin levels.”
How much do you have to eat to see benefits?
According to the study, three servings of whole grains per day (a total of 90 grams) was associated with the 17 percent decrease in cancer risk. A single serving of whole grains is equal to a 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice, oatmeal, or other whole grain, or a cup of whole-grain cereal.