/ by Nasreen Omran, dietetic intern at the UK Markey Cancer Center
In May, the American Cancer Society changed the screening guidelines for colon cancer, lowering the recommended starting age from 50 to 45.
Screening at an earlier age can help prevent colon cancer, but did you know that a healthy diet can reduce your risk for the disease, too? Try these four tips for a healthy diet that can help you prevent colon cancer.
1. Eat your fruits and vegetables.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, which can protect the body from cancer-causing agents. Fruits and vegetables also contain antioxidants, a type of phytochemical that prevents cell damage. Vitamin C is an example of an antioxidant and can be found in oranges, tomatoes, strawberries and more.
2. Increase fiber in your diet.
Eating plenty of fiber will keep you feel fuller longer and may promote weight loss, which can help prevent cancer. Choosing breads that are made of whole grains instead of refined grains will help increase fiber in your diet. Fiber can also be found in whole fruits with skin, including apples and pears. It’s best to eat fruits instead of drinking them in juices, but 100-percent juices are OK in moderation.
3. Manage alcohol consumption.
Research has shown that individuals who consume alcohol in excess are at a greater risk for colon cancer than those who do not drink alcohol at all. Limiting alcohol consumption to one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men may help to lower your risk for colon cancer. A drink is considered five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
4. Choose lean meats.
Red meats like beef and pork, as well as processed meats like hotdogs and lunch meat, have been linked to an increase risk for colon cancer. Choosing leaner meats, such as chicken, turkey and fish, may help to lower your risk for colon cancer.