Keeping colorectal cancer at bay

It's surprising that colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer. That's because it's so preventable. The American Institute for Cancer Research offers steps to preventing colorectal cancer.

Stay a healthy weight and watch out for belly fat. Colorectal cancer is one of 11 cancers linked to overweight and obesity. The latest research also finds that too much belly fat -- regardless of weight - increases the risk for colorectal cancer. Even losing 10 pounds can benefit your health. Think portion control when it comes to calorie-packed foods (meats, cheese and nuts) but load up on colorful fruits and vegetables. And try to limit sweets and desserts to two or three times a week. 

Make time for physical activity. Research finds that moderate physical activity, from housecleaning to running, reduces the risk of colon cancer. Find 10 minutes to move every day. Build on that over time to reach 30 minutes a day. 

Eat plenty of fiber. For every 10 grams of fiber from foods, the risk of colorectal cancer is reduced by 10 percent. High fiber foods include beans, raspberries, whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. 

Reduce red meat and avoid processed meats. High amounts of red meat and small amounts of processed meat increases colorectal cancer risk. Of the two, consuming processed meat increases the risk twice as much as consuming red meat, according to the AICR. Processed meats include hot dogs, bacon, sausage and deli meats. 

Drink alcohol in moderation. The evidence is convincing that drinking alcohol increases colorectal cancer risk in men and may also increase the risk in women. 

Include garlic in your diet. Evidence suggests that garlic reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. Add it to stews, stir-fries, vegetables and roasted meats. It's best to chop the garlic, then let it rest 10 to 15 minutes before cooking to activate the health-promoting ingredients. 

Get a screening. Regular screening can find precancerous growths (polyps). 

Q and A: 

Q: What is nutritional yeast and is it good for me? 

A: Nutritional yeast is a non-active, cultured strain of saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast that comes in a yellow flake or powder. It is usually grown on molasses, then deactivated with heat and dried. Nutritional yeast is not to be mistaken for brewer's yeast, which is a by-product of beer making, or active yeast, which is used for rising dough. And it tastes very different. Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy flavor and can be sprinkled on popcorn or any food on which you would use parmesan cheese, like pasta primavera or pizza. Also known as nut yeast or "nooch," it is a popular food item among vegetarians and vegans because nutritional yeast is often fortified with vitamin B12, which otherwise is found only in animals products. It is also a good source of the B vitamins riboflavin, thiamin, niacin and folic acid; a 1 tablespoon serving may provide 30 percent tor more of the Daily Value of these nutrients in only 20 calories. Almost half of those calories are from high-quality protein (containing all of the essential amino acids); one serving contains two grams of protein. Check the label for nutrition facts before selecting a nutritional yeast, however, as nutritional profiles may vary. Commonly found in health food stores, companies like Red Star, Bragg and Bob's Red Mill all make their own version. Don't hesitate to give this unique ingredient a try. -- Environmental Nutrition. 



Asparagus just seems to equal spring. Here's a salad, from Today's Dietitian, that combines asparagus, oranges and goat cheese. It's a great way to bring spring to the table. 

Shaved Asparagus Salad with Oranges and Goat Cheese 

1 bunch asparagus spears 

1 large or 2 small navel oranges, peeled and segmented 

2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled 

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped 

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 

Freshly cracked pepper 

Coarse salt 

To shave asparagus into ribbons, hold on to the base of one asparagus stalk. Place a y-peeler about 2 inches from the base and slide toward the tip. Repeat, rotating the asparagus 90 degrees each time you cut until the whole stalk has been cut into ribbons (or use a spiralizer). Repeat with remaining asparagus. Discard woody ends. Place asparagus ribbons on a serving platter. Top with orange segments, crumbled goat cheese and parsley. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper and coarse salt to taste. Serve immediately. Serves 4. 

Per serving: 61 calories, 3 g protein, 4 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 185 mg sodium. 

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