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Survivorship Table: March

The month of March marks National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and National Nutrition Month! Learn more about how you can kickstart the springtime by promoting a healthy lifestyle for wellbeing.


Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer affects both men and women, with the majority of cases occurring in older adults [i]. Below are steps you can take to prevent colorectal cancer and recurrence.

  • Increase fruits and vegetables in your diet! Consuming more fruits and vegetables has been shown to have a potential impact on decreasing the risk of colorectal cancer as well as other chronic diseases [ii]. Consuming a diet full of fruits and vegetables can also help you maintain a healthy weight.
    • Get creative by utilizing a variety of cooking methods such as vegetable rices, spiralized vegetables or shaved vegetables such as brussels sprouts or carrots.
    • Spice it up! Try a new spice, herb or flavor to make fruits and vegetables more interesting and exciting. Check out our new “Fall for New Flavors” series for more inspiration.
    • Eat with the season. Use eating fruits and vegetables in season as an excuse to try foods you normally wouldn’t. Identify seasonal fruits and vegetables by using this guide from the USDA [iii].

  • Eat more whole grains! Whole grains are a good source of fiber and contain many vitamins and minerals.
    • Swap products for the whole grain version. Try using brown rice or quinoa in place of white rice or whole grain bread instead of white bread whenever possible.
    • Consider adding bowls to the menu! Switch up your weekly routine by adding a whole grain bowl. Grain bowls can be found at many lunch chains or can be made at home. They are an easy way to increase whole grains in your diet.

  • Consider decreasing your consumption of processed meat and red meat. Consuming meats such as deli meats, hot dogs, beef, pork and lamb has been shown to increase risk of colorectal cancer [iv].
    • Try picking a day of the week to skip meat such as taking part in Meatless Monday.
    • Substitute red meat or processed meat for an alternative such as lean poultry, fish or a plant based alternative (tofu, quinoa, hummus).


National Nutrition Month

The month of march is National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is “Eat Right, Bite by Bite.” This theme encourages individuals to make small yet manageable lifestyle and dietary changes to promote overall health and wellbeing [v]. How can you celebrate?

  • Eat a diet with variety!
    • Have you ever heard the phrase “eat the rainbow”? Aiming to have your plate include many different colors to resemble a rainbow can help to ensure you are consuming a variety of nutrients.
    • Aim to include many different fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your eating pattern.

  • Plan ahead to enjoy nutritious meals during your busiest times.
    • Prepare a larger version of your favorite recipe and refrigerate or freeze the extras for quick go-to meals or snacks when you are short on time. Be sure to practice safe food storage.
    • Consider compiling a list of recipes that interest you to make meal planning easier. Share recipes with family and friends, or use recipe apps on your phone.

  • Make cooking and meal preparation a fun activity!
    • Try watching YouTube cooking videos to learn a new cooking technique.
    • Consider preparing a recipe from the cuisine of one of your favorite places to visit or somewhere you would like to travel.

Learn more about Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and National Nutrition Month and advocacy initiatives here.


References:

[i] “What are the Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer?” Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/risk_factors.htm

[ii] “What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Colorectal Cancer?” Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/prevention.htm

[iii] “Seasonal Produce Guide.” Retrieved from https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide

[iv] “Six Ways to Lower Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer.” Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/six-ways-to-lower-your-risk-for-colon-cancer.html

[v] “National Nutrition Month.” Retrieved from: https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month

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