Make Healthy Nutrition Choices to Reduce Colon Cancer Risk

You don’t have to completely abandon your red meat habit, but studies show that decreasing red meat intake is just one of several nutrition choices that may reduce your risk for colorectal cancer.

“Obesity is an overall risk factor for colorectal cancer, but there are nutrition tweaks that can help,” said Jan Dowell, RD, CCMS, with Memorial Wellness Center. “It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach.”

Dowell shares the following choices, which may help defend against other cancers as well – not just colorectal:

  • Eat less processed meats: cured, smoked, chemically processed. Save that hot dog for special occasions at the ballpark.
  • Don’t super-size. Yes, you can order that hamburger but don’t make it a double. Enjoy the occasional steak but not a 20-ounce piece of red meat twice a week.
  • Think plant-forward. Keep your hamburger in the spaghetti sauce but supplement with more veggies, too. Making chili? Use more beans and less sausage or hamburger.
  • Consider meal-prep. Go budget-friendly and schedule weekend time to cook a turkey, which offers lean options for sandwiches, soup, chili and general leftovers.

“Even though March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, each of us is a whole person so we need to think about our health beyond our colon,” said Dowell. “Being more plant-forward and less meat-focused in your diet will help address other cancer risks like breast or prostate as well.”

Interested in more resources on how to cultivate a healthier approach to eating? Contact our Memorial Wellness Center at 217-788-3948 for additional information and also to learn more about our upcoming Culinary Medicine hands-on cooking classes that will begin later this spring in our new teaching kitchen.

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