Two noteworthy health campaigns, National Nutrition Month and National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, share the month of March. I am committed to blogging about National Nutrition Month throughout March, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to discuss colon cancer awareness. Today I will attempt to tackle both topics in one post.
In the community where I live, the wrath of colon cancer has hit home hard. Here in Wilmington, just last year, two beloved residents and mothers lost their battle to this devastating disease at the young age of 41. Although I did not have the pleasure of knowing either of these women, I have recently come to know some of their loved ones. This personal connection, as well as the fact I am a local health care provider, has heightened my sense of responsibility to do my part.
In today’s post I plan to:
• Share nutritional advice on colon cancer prevention so you can do your part by taking good care of yourself and modeling good eating habits to your children.
• Share photos from the First Annual Blue Ribbon Run held at the loop of Wrightsville Beach, NC. Both the 5 K and fun run events were organized within our community to raise awareness and support for finding a cure for colon cancer.
Before I get started, let me alert you to the fact that your genetic make up is a large factor in predicting cancer risk. This is especially true for colon cancer; the risk is higher for individuals who have relatives with colon rectal cancer or polyps.
That being said, the risk is also higher in those who use tobacco, are overweight and have more belly fat, live sedentary lifestyles and consume a poor diet. These are the risk factors that we can and should control. Interestingly enough, the American Cancer Society estimates 35% of all cancers have a nutrition connection. So what constitutes a healthy diet in terms of colon cancer prevention?
• Limit red meat and processed meats. Good protein sources include poultry, fish, nuts, beans, eggs and soy products.
• Eat more fruits and vegetables.
• Watch portion sizes and avoid empty calories (sweetened beverages, desserts, snack foods) to avoid obesity and weight gain around the midsection.
• Limit alcohol.
• Include nonfat or lowfat dairy sources such as skim milk , nonfat yogurt and low fat cheese.
• Increase fiber intake, especially from whole grains such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa.
In addition to what you eat, cancer prevention calls for balancing your intake with your physical activity to maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, it’s time to increase the amount and intensity of physical activity you get. Here are some pictures from the First Annual Blue Ribbon Run my daughter was kind enough to take.
I love events like this because they not only raise support and awareness for good causes, they encourage individuals and families to adopt healthy behaviors.
What steps will you take so nutrition and physical fitness collide?
Diane Boyd, M.B.A., R.D., L.D.N.