Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in Singapore and is the third most common cancer worldwide. According to experts and medical researchers, a healthy balanced diet paired with regular exercise to achieve an ideal body weight, can help to lower the risk of colorectal cancer. In this article, you will learn tips to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer through the right meal plan.
Good Food Choices for Lowering Your Colorectal Cancer Risk
A balanced diet is key to a healthy life. This balance is different for everyone and must be individualized. But there are some foods that are particularly important, these include:
1. Dairy Foods
According to recent studies, calcium-rich foods like dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese) can reduce the risk of forming polyps (adenomas), some of which can develop into colorectal cancer.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grain foods (oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat bread) contain important protective nutrients like magnesium and fiber, which help to maintain good bowel movement and keep your intestines healthy.
Beans and legumes (soybeans, peas, and lentils) are a rich source of fiber, protein, vitamin B, and E. The flavonoids and antioxidants found in beans and legumes are also protective against colorectal cancer.
4. Multi-Coloured Fruits and Vegetables
Colourful fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, which have antioxidant properties that help to reduce inflammation in the body, thus helping to lower your risk of cancer.
Many fish, especially salmon, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-cancer growth properties. It is recommended that you take 80-100g daily for good health.
Foods to Be Eaten in Controlled Portions Only
1. Red Meats
Red meat by itself is not unhealthy. Taking lean red meat is a healthier option. More importantly, the method in which it is cooked also influences cancer risk, e.g. barbecued and deep-fried styles of cooking meat is unhealthy and should be limited. Therefore, it is advised to eat read meats in moderation, perhaps up to 2 to 3 times a week or not more than 18 ounces weekly.
2. Processed Foods and Meats
All processed foods (vegetables or meat) are prepared and preserved with chemicals which can increase your risk of cancer. The regular consumption of these foods, including sausages, bacon, ham, burgers, salted vegetables etc. can increase the chance of cancer from increased exposure to such chemicals in the body.
3. Items High in Refined Sugar, Caffeinated drinks, and Other Sugary Beverages
The excessive consumption of sugary foods, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, soft drinks, sweetened juices, and other sugary beverages also increases the risk of cancer. Therefore, it is best to avoid or minimize intake of such beverages.
Drinking alcohol daily may increase the risk of colorectal cancer by up to 20-40%. Alcohol should only be consumed sparingly.
We are what we eat. So, eat wisely since a Healthy Gut is a Healthy Life!