EFNEP - Fact Sheets - Food Choices and Exercise are Keys to a Healthy Colon

Mary May, Roy, Heli J.

Americans have a high rate of colon cancer and other bowel diseases. What can you do to protect yourself from these painful and sometimes deadly diseases?

To lower your risk for colon cancer:

Choose foods high in fiber

  • Eat more dried beans, whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables.

  • You should have about 20-35 grams of dietary fiber a day. (Most people have only 7-10 grams.)

Choose foods low in fat

  • Eat fewer fried foods, gravies, pastries, salad dressings, and less mayonnaise, butter and margarine.

  • Eat fewer fatty meats and sausages and less bologna and salami.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

  • Eat more bright red, purple and blue berries and other colorfule fruits. They have a lot of fiber and non-nutritive chemicals calle phytochemicals. Phytochemicals ("phyto" means "plant") help protect you from many forms of cancer. There are many kinds, even beyond the usual vitamins and minerals.

  • Include more dark green and deep yellow vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, garlic, citrus fruit.

Choose foods high in calcium and vitamin D

  • Drink more milk (choose skim), yogurt and low-fat cheeses.

  • Your body forms vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Take a walk in the sunshine!

Exercise every day

  • People who spend most of the day sitting are much more likely to become victims of colon cancer.

  • Even three 10-minute walks throughout the day make a difference.

Be happy!

  • Depression increases your risk. Seek help.

  • Have fun with your family and friends.

Know the Warning Signs!

If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, see your doctor.

  • Diarrhea or constipation

  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool

  • Bloating, fullness, stomach ache or cramps

  • Frequent gas pains

  • A constant feeling of having to go to the bathroom

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Constant tiredness

  • Unexplained anemia

Ranch Beans

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 can (16 ounce) vegetarian baked beans
  • 1 can (15 ounce) red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 Tablespoons catsup
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses or brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard

Spray medium saucepan with no-stick cooking spray. Cook and stir onion and bell pepper for about one minute. Add rest of ingredients. Cook about 10 minutes. Serves 6. Each serving provides 150 calories, 1 gram fat and 10 grams dietary fiber.

3/18/2005 10:47:11 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture