How can your diet reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer?

For this Melanie’s Moment, we are talking about your diet!

Research has shown that diet can affect one’s risk of developing colorectal cancer.  Diet is also important in decreasing the risk of recurrence or secondary cancer after the treatment of colorectal cancer.  The American Institute for Cancer research as well as other cancer research organizations have published specific diet recommendations for the prevention of colorectal cancer. The list below highlights these recommendations:

  • Limit red meat (beef, pork and lamb) to 18 ounces per week
  • Avoid preserved animal products such as hot dogs, deli meat, sausage and bacon
  • Include fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables to the diet  (goal of 25-35 g/day)
  • Incorporate plant-based protein foods into the diet
  • Limit alcohol to 1 drink/day for women and 2 drinks/day for men (12 oz beer, 5 oz glass of wine, or 1.5 oz hard alcohol)

If you or someone in your family is at high risk for developing colorectal cancer or has been treated for this cancer type, consider a plant-based/meatless meal 1-2 nights per week.  Plant-based proteins include nuts, nut butter, seeds, grains (quinoa or farro), tofu, soybeans, and beans.  A simple swap might be using black beans and sweet potatoes instead of beef in a taco as in the recipe below.

Black Bean Taco Filling:

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 peeled & chopped sweet potato
  • 1-2 TBSP chili powder (depending on how spicy you like your tacos)
  • 1 can of black beans drained
  • ½ cup corn kernels (frozen or fresh is fine)
  • 6-8 whole grain tortillas or hard taco shells

Toppings:  chopped cilantro, plain greek yogurt or sour cream, shredded pepper jack  cheese, chopped avocado, pico de gallo


  1. In a large skillet, warm olive oil for 2 minutes.  Add sweet potato to the skillet and stir occasionally.  Cook potato until soft ~ 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add chili powder seasoning, black beans, and corn to the skillet.  Cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  3. Scoop bean mixture into taco shells and top with your favorite toppings.
  4. Enjoy!

If you are a patient and have questions about your diet, please ask your oncologist at your next appointment about receiving a complimentary nutritional session with Melanie Mitchell, SNCC Registered Dietitian.

Recent Posts
Cake in a mug