While we know that genetics play a role in whether or not you will develop colon cancer, research seems to indicate that diet can, too. Studies show that vegetarians experience lower rates of colon cancer than the general public—so much lower that a healthy diet might be one of the best prevention steps you can take.
What kinds of foods should you eat, and which ones do you need to avoid? In honor of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, we’ve put together some dietary dos and don’ts to consider when planning daily menus.
First, let’s get the bad news out of the way. If your lifestyle includes following a traditional Western diet, you might need to make some sizable changes. Foods believed to increase the risk for colon cancer include:
Fortunately, there’s equally strong evidence to suggest that some foods have superpowers when it comes to keeping your colon healthy. The foods you should work in to your diet include vegetables, fruit, and fiber (i.e., whole grains and flaxseeds). Diets that are rich in vitamin D and omega-3, both of which help boost the immune system while reducing inflammation, are also linked to better colon health.
One tip for adhering to a diet that’s best for your overall well-being is to start the day off right. Exercise in the morning so you aren’t tempted to skip it if you are tired later in the day. Eat a healthy breakfast so you are less likely to reach for sugary treats mid-morning. Read 5 Healthy Breakfast Options for Seniors for some ideas for making the most of your mornings!