Its Bowel Cancer Awareness Week 5-11th June, so now is a great time to assess your diet and lifestyle to see how you can reduce your risk of developing this cancer.
There is still a lot we don’t know about why cancers grow in some people, but we do know there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cancer. Current evidence suggests that following a healthy diet, which a focus on including plenty of fruits, vegetables and fibre, play a vital role in reducing this risk.
Fibre is the indigestible component of plant materials found in fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. There are 2 types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre (found predominantly in oats, apples, beans, legumes, citrus fruits) forms a gel with water as it passes through the bowel. This is beneficial in the prevention of cancer as it promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestine. Soluble fibre also aids in reducing cholesterol levels and can assist in weight management.
Insoluble fibre (found mainly in wheat bran and whole grains) helps add bulk to your stools so they move through your bowels smoothly. This increased bulk helps prevent constipation and the more active your bowels are, the less opportunity cancerous cells have to grow.
So how much fibre is enough?
It is recommended that adults consume approximately 25-30 g of fibre per day.
How you can increase your fibre intake
- Choose wholegrain breads and cereals instead of the white variety
- Buy high fibre and wholegrain breakfast cereals- a high fibre breakfast cereal has more than 3g of fibre per serve
- Include fruit (with the skin on where possible) as a healthy snack
- Bulk up all your meals with vegetables (aim to fill at least half the plate with a range of different vegetables).
- Get creative with cooking and try new foods such as quinoa and chia seeds which are good sources of fibre.
If you’re not used to eating fibre, then it’s important to increase the amount of fibre in your diet gradually because if you begin eating large amounts of fibre all of a sudden you may have some uncomfortable side effects such as bloating and flatulence. It is also important to ensure you drink plenty of water to assist the fibre to move through the bowels.
If bowel cancer is picked up early enough, it can be removed without it spreading through the body. So be sure to have regular check-ups with your doctor!! For advice on how you can improve your bowel health through good nutrition contact Nutted Out Nutrition.