A healthy diet is not just about eating well; it’s about adopting habits that can safeguard you against a variety of health issues, especially as you hit the age of 50 and beyond. Maintaining a health promoting diet can have a profound impact on conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. In this article, we’ll explore why it’s vital for men over 50 to pay attention to their diet and delve into the best foods that can promote colon health and overall well-being.
Why Is Following a Diet for Men over 50 Important?
AARP emphasizes the importance of a healthy diet for men over 50, highlighting the findings from Duke University School of Medicine Researchers. As men reach their 50s, they may gradually start to experience physical decline. However, with the right approach to diet and exercise, you can significantly improve your quality of life, avoid decline, prevent disease, maximize health and energy!
The Best Foods for Colon Health for Men Over 50
As men age, the risk of rectum and colon cancer increases. To combat these risks, it’s crucial to adopt a diet that includes whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits while limiting the consumption of red and processed meats. These dietary choices are not only beneficial for colon health but can also help in reducing the risk of prostate cancer. While no diet can guarantee cancer prevention, these foods possess anti-cancer properties that contribute to overall men’s health and significantly lower the risk of multiple types of cancers.
As a Registered Dietitian, I completed my Master’s thesis on the relationship between nutrition and cancer. I have had multiple family members contract cancer between the ages of 50-65, including my Uncle, Aunt and Grandmother, so nutrition, fitness and cancer prevention are of particular interest to me. What are the best foods for colon health for men over 50?
- Lean Proteins: Opt for alternative protein sources more often like lentils, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, nuts, seeds and soy-based products instead of red and particularly processed meat, which has been associated with a heightened risk of colorectal cancer. It’s worth noting that high cholesterol levels are also connected to an increased risk of colon cancer, and animal-based protein sources typically contain varying amounts of cholesterol. For individuals with predispositions, it might be wise to consider plant-based options more often.
- Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Berries, broccoli, and tomatoes among other colorful fruits and veggies are excellent examples of how you can effortlessly incorporate a plethora of antioxidants into your diet. Embracing a colorful spectrum of foods is a simple method to introduce an array of cancer-fighting antioxidants into your meals, as it’s the vibrant pigments in these foods that signify their rich antioxidant content.
- Selenium-Rich Foods: Brazil nuts are at the center of a popular practice within the plant-based community known as the ‘four on the fourth.’ This monthly ritual encourages plant-based enthusiasts to consume four Brazil nuts on the fourth day of each month. The selenium content in these four nuts is believed to potentially lower the risk of high colon cancer and the fiber may assist with lowering elevated cholesterol.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: While salmon is frequently celebrated for its abundant omega-3 content, alternative sources of this essential fatty acid can also be included. Nuts and seeds are easy ways to incorporate omega-3s into a nutritious diet. You can introduce flaxseed into smoothies, shakes, and hot cereal like oatmeal. Just 1 tbsp of ground flax has a complete day’s worth the essential omega 3 fatty acid linolenic acid.
- Foods High in Vitamin C: Vitamin C holds a fascinating secret—it may wield potent anti-cancer properties. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that individuals with robust vitamin C intake from fruits and vegetables may experience a reduced risk of various cancers, including lung, breast, and colon cancer. Among the array of fruits and vegetables available, oranges, broccoli, and kiwi stand out as the richest sources of vitamin C, but a variety of fruits and veggies have vitamin C.
- Fiber: Beyond its role as an effective bulking agent, fiber plays a crucial part in nurturing the health of the gut microbiome. Remarkably, only 1 in 20 Americans manage to meet their daily fiber requirements, leaving a multitude of gut bacteria undernourished. Considering the wide-ranging consequences on metabolism, mental well-being, and immune system function associated with an imbalanced gut flora, it becomes evident that fiber is an essential component for the well-being of your body, particularly colon health. Where does fiber come from? All whole plant foods including beans/legumes, whole, unprocessed grains, nuts/seeds, fruits and veggies.
Four Additional Steps You Can Take To Improve Your Colon’s Health
Regular exercise, at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days, can help lower the risk of colon cancer, in addition to promoting heart health and maintaining a healthy weight.
Watch your weight:
Carrying extra pounds increases the risk of colon and other cancers. Seek guidance from your healthcare provider if you need assistance in losing weight.
Limit alcohol and don’t smoke:
Limiting alcohol consumption is recommended, and quitting smoking is crucial for overall health and cancer prevention. Reducing alcohol can also help to lower excess body weight, another contributor to cancer risk.
Follow screening guidelines:
Regular colon cancer screening is a cornerstone of prevention. Various screening options, including colonoscopy, can not only detect cancer but also prevent it by identifying and removing precancerous polyps.
Ready to Take Charge Of Your Daily Habits?
If you’re a man over 50 ready to take control of your daily habits, health and enhance your quality of life through better nutrition and health practices, consider seeking guidance from a trusted expert like Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, ACE-CPT, LDN, at Nutrition Coaching Center.
With over 20 years of experience and nearly 4000 patients helped, Kevin is well-equipped to assist you in achieving your health and nutrition goals. Whether you’re tired of dieting, frustrated with your weight, or managing a chronic health condition, Kevin’s health and nutrition programs can help you reach your potential and attain long-term success. Don’t wait; take charge of your health today.