Submitted by Casey Beeghly, Clinical Dietitian, Sentara Leigh Hospital
I eat healthy by trying to have a balanced diet, focusing on lots of fruits and veggies, freshly prepared meals and limiting processed foods. I do indulge on occasion but in moderation. I am motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle so I set a good example for my family.
In recognition of Colorectal Awareness Month, I ‘d like to share some of my top tips to improve colon health.
One of the best things a person can do to improve colon health is eat well.
Choose healthy protein sources
- Choose poultry, fish, eggs, soy products and beans.
- Limit red meat and processed meats
Choose a Rainbow of Vegetables and Fruits
- Vegetables and fruits of all colors are loaded with anti-cancer, immune-system-strengthening properties
- Aim for five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
- Slowly increase fiber in your diet with a goal 25-35 grams per day.
- Choose whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, and brown rice.
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables; Add beans, peas and lentils to salads and soups.
- Drink plenty of fluids, goal 8 cups per day. Fluid helps your body process fiber.
- Calcium intake has been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Good sources include low-fat dairy products or skim milk, dark green vegetables, soy and tofu products, canned salmon and sardines, and fortified foods such as orange juice.
- Get more calcium by having almonds, cottage cheese, or yogurt as a snack.
- Vitamin D aids in the body’s absorption of calcium, and has been shown to play a role in colorectal cancer prevention.
- Vitamin D is derived mainly from sunlight, but can also be found in cooked salmon/mackerel/sardines, fortified milk, and eggs.
- Folic acid (folate) is an essential B vitamin, and may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.
- Lentils, collard greens, chickpeas, asparagus, broccoli, peas, strawberries, papaya, oranges are good sources.