9 Diet Tips for a Healthy Colon

What’s on your plate affects your risk for colorectal cancer

A lot of new evidence links poor diet and lifestyle to colorectal cancer. Risk factors include a diet high in red or processed meat, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking and heavy alcohol intake.

The American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research agree on recommendations for a colon-heathy diet. A good rule of thumb is to fill two-thirds of your plate with plant-based foods, and the remaining one-third with meat or dairy, says Southcoast dietician Julie Guerreiro, RD, LDN, CSO.

Follow these tips for a colon-healthy diet:

  1. Avoid alcohol entirely or have just one drink a day, meaning 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
  2. Eat no more than 18 ounces of beef, pork and lamb a week.
  3. Limit processed meats, including lunch meats, bacon, sausages and hot dogs.
  4. Limit or, better yet, eliminate fried foods, which are high in calories and can lead to weight gain.
  5. Choose lean protein sources, such as skinless chicken or turkey and fish.
  6. Eat whole grains in breads and cereals, as well as brown rice.
  7. Favor whole fruits, fresh or frozen, over fruit juice.
  8. Emphasize non-starchy vegetables, such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, peppers, green beans and green leafy vegetables.
  9. Build meals around beans and legumes, such as black beans, lentils, kidney beans and garbanzo beans.