Colon health 101
If you’re a self-declared bookworm, you’ll be happy to know that October is National Book Month. This is a great excuse to pick up that new book you’ve been meaning to read, or to dust off the cover of an old favorite. It’s also a great opportunity to read up on ways to prevent colon cancer.
According to Alice Bender, Registered Dietician for the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR), “Research now shows that 45 percent of colorectal cancers in the United States are preventable each year through diet, staying a healthy weight, and being physically active. That’s about 64,000 cases every year.”
Nearly half of all colon cancer cases can be prevented through simple lifestyle changes. To help you get started in the right direction, here are some ways to lower your risk of colon cancer, and some books to keep you well-read on the subject.
Clean up your plate
• Load up on fiber. For every 10 grams of fiber consumed per day, your risk of colon cancer is reduced by 10 percent.
• Fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables. They’re loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber.
• Cut back on red meat and eliminate processed meat, both of which are known to increase your risk of colon cancer.
• Limit alcohol intake. AICR recommends limiting daily alcohol intake to two drinks for men and one drink for women.
Book Recommendation: The Cancer Survivor’s Guide: Foods That Help You Fight Back – This book explores the connection between nutrition and cancer prevention. It also includes several vegan recipes to get you started on a low-fat, plant-based diet.
Find Time for Exercise
• Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
• Explore different fitness routines until you find something you love. If you enjoy your exercise regimen, you’re more likely to stick with it.
• Remember that every little bit helps! Whether you’re push-mowing the grass or taking the stairs at work, those minutes count toward your daily total.
Book Recommendation: Anticancer: A New Way of Life – Written by a neuroscientist who discovered a tumor in his own brain, Anticancer serves as a guide to lifestyle changes that prevent and treat cancer. It outlines the importance of diet, exercise, and meditation.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
• Shed excess body fat and belly fat, which increase your risk of developing colon cancer.
• Discover your ideal body weight by calculating your BMI.
• Practice portion control and eliminate calorie-laden junk foods (Source: American Institute for Cancer Research).
Book Recommendation: On The Far Side of The Curve: A Stage IV Colon Cancer Survivor’s Journey – Retiree Wayne Cooke underwent three surgeries and over 70 rounds of chemotherapy to overcome stage IV colon cancer. He shares his journey of hope, strength, and how a positive attitude can help anyone overcome even the greatest odds.
Knowledge really is power, so read up on ways to improve your health this October. Visit your local library or bookstore, and delve into the pages of a good book. It can be your first step toward building a healthier, happier you!
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