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Eat to prevent colon cancer

Eat for your healthDid you know a diet high in fresh fruit and veggies and low in high-fat foods not only helps you fight the battle of the bulge – but may also protect against colon cancer?

“Fresh produce and other high fiber foods like whole grains have all been linked to colorectal cancer prevention and its recurrence,” said Keri Layton, registered dietitian for The University of Kansas Cancer Center. But Layton admits this type of diet can be a challenge for the hectic paced, snack-happy, fast-food-fueled lives many people lead.

Layton shares five tips for painlessly easing you and your family into healthier eating habits, plus a delicious recipe for roasted red pepper soup.

  • Test drive your taste buds.
    Taste buds change over the years. Just because you didn’t like broccoli 25 years ago doesn’t mean you won’t like it now. Plus, today’s supermarket produce section contains more varieties of fruits and vegetables than ever before. Explore to find something brand new to you.
  • Be sneaky!
    Take a veggie or two your family turns up their collective noses at, puree in a blender or food processor, then add to pasta sauce for spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli and more. Train yourself to think, “What fruit or veggie can I sneak into this dish?”
  • It may be a texture thing.
    People who aren’t wild about hard, crunchy veggies like carrots and celery may find them quite agreeable when cooked.  A kid who won’t eat oranges because of the stringy membrane may be crazy about them blended into a smoothie – especially paired with strawberries or bananas.
  • Shake up your salads.
    Throw a handful of fresh blueberries, some English walnuts and mandarin orange slices into your traditional mixed salads. Or make it pecans and fresh pear slices, slivered almonds and red grapes or chopped peanuts and dried cranberries.
  • Befriend flax seed and other omega 3s.
    Packed with omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants, flax seed may protect against colon, prostate and breast cancers. Layton says it’s super easy to buy pre-ground flax seed and add it to muffins, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies and salads. Ditto for omega 3-rich walnuts and almonds. To get other great sources of omega 3 into your diet, turn to fatty fish like salmon and tuna.

JILL’S ROASTED RED PEPPER SOUP

Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients

4 red bell peppers, sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
salt and pepper to taste
Goat cheese or Parmesan cheese to garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Roast peppers in oven for 15-20 minutes or until skin is blackened and bubbly. Meanwhile, add oil to a pan and sauté the onion and garlic. Combine roasted peppers with onion mixture. Add enough broth to just cover vegetables. Simmer 10 minutes, then stir to blend.

Simmer 5-10 more minutes to allow flavors to meld and soup to heat thoroughly. Top with a sprinkling of cheese and serve.

Learn more about colorectal cancer prevention.