Total Access Medical - Direct Primary Care Blog

The Importance of Diet for Colorectal Cancer 

Posted by Total Access Medical on Apr 04, 2018

Screen_Shot_2014-08-07_at_9.25.28_AM.pngColorectal cancer is a type of cancer that affects a person's rectum, colon, or both. It is more likely to appear in older individuals, but there are many other risk factors associated with its emergence, such as genetic and lifestyle factors.

One of the most cited risk factors is diet — referring specifically to poor dietary habits that often also lead to obesity.

Below, we look at which foods and nutrients have been said to raise the risk of colorectal cancer, and which types of diet have been deemed helpful in its prevention.

What Foods to Not Eat

Numerous studies have indicated that a diet too rich in red meat - all mammalian muscle meat, including beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat - is associated with a heightened risk of colorectal cancer. A review of the evidence supporting this link notes that "consumption of red meat might be related directly to the incidence of colorectal cancer or indirectly because a diet high in meat tends to be low in vegetables, fruit, and fiber."


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A study of North Italian populations showed that individuals who eat red meat alongside eggs, cheese, and other fatty foods — as well as refined starches — on a frequent basis had an almost twice higher risk of developing rectal or colon cancer than their peers who favored a plant-based diet.

Another report determined that every 50-gram portion of processed meat, such as bacon or salami, eaten every day increases a person's risk of developing colorectal cancer by 18%.

What Foods to Eat

In order to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, eat a healthful diet that favors fruit and veg.

A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and fibers could help to minimize the risk, and many existing studies seem to support this advice.

A study from the Loma Linda University in California found that vegetarian-style diets are linked to a decreased risk of colorectal cancer. 

One study from last year also suggests that the more colorful your meal the better, and that individuals should focus on integrating a rainbow of fruit and vegetables into their diets. More specifically, their experiments indicated that purple potatoes might protect against colon cancer.

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Topics: Diet, Healthy Eating, Cancer