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  • Writer's pictureWalid Omar

Combat Colorectal Cancer with a Plant-Based Diet

Two impactful measures you can adopt to guard against colorectal cancer begin with your diet: Remove red and processed meats—like bacon, ham, and hot dogs—and boost your fiber intake.

a man cooking a plant based meal

Colorectal cancer ranks as the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. It contributes to 10% of cancer fatalities in the United States, with an alarming rise in rates among young individuals. A study from the National Cancer Institute reveals that adults born around 1990 face twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer compared to those born around 1950.

If you or a loved one are in need of a Primary Care Physician in Saint Augustine, Florida, please contact Dr. Walid Omar here.

Omar Medical has published multiple blogs specifically on the importance of a plant-based diet, where you can also read here.

Fortunately, you can significantly lower your risk by making wise dietary choices, such as opting for nutritious, plant-based foods. Research suggests that dietary habits play a crucial role in both preventing and managing colorectal cancer: here are 5 tips you can use to start today!

1. Choosing High-Fiber Foods

Fiber, found exclusively in plants, is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Studies show that higher fiber intake is linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. For example, one study found nearly a 40% lower risk in men who consumed over 35 grams of fiber per day compared to those consuming around 13 grams. Another meta-analysis revealed a 12% lower risk with higher total dietary fiber intake. Additionally, consuming three servings of whole grains daily was associated with a 17% lower risk, and a higher intake of fruits and vegetables reduced the risk by approximately 10%.

infographic of a list of high fiber fruits

2. Avoiding Red and Processed Meat

The World Health Organization has classified processed meat as "carcinogenic to humans," with just one daily serving increasing cancer risk by 18%. Consuming 100 grams of red meat daily raises the risk by 17%. The carcinogenic compounds in meat, including nitrosamines and heterocyclic amines, along with heme iron, saturated fat, and cholesterol, contribute to colorectal cancer risk.

picture of processed meat and red meat

3. Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Excess weight, especially a BMI of 40 or higher, increases colorectal cancer risk by roughly 45%. Even mild to moderate obesity raises the risk by 10% and approximately 35%, respectively. Studies also show that for every 5 kilograms of weight gained in adulthood, the risk for colorectal cancer increases by 4%.

image of maintaining a healthy weight with exercise and plant based diet

4. Screening

Regular screenings, starting at age 45 according to American Cancer Society guidelines, are crucial for early detection and prevention. Removing precancerous lesions in a timely manner can prevent the development of colorectal cancer.

two doctors doing a colonoscopy screening

By incorporating these dietary and lifestyle changes, you can significantly reduce your risk of colorectal cancer and promote overall health and well-being.

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Explore additional resources from Omar Medical for understanding how a plant-based diet may be the key to improving your health:


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