It’s “Offal” to Eat Your Insides Out

Preventing colorectal cancer begins with a good meal.

By Kevin RR Williams


HEALTH Pardon the awful headline pun. Everyone seems to chime in when discussing offal. Websites like Offal Good and Offally Good praise the versatility and nutritional value of byproducts once limited to sausages, lunchmeat and pet food. In essence, offal is organ meat — what is salvaged after butchering traditionally edible cuts of meat. With its high profit margin, some upscale restaurants are making it très chic. Some diners may be repulsed by the unsavory raw appearance or texture of some varietal meats when chewed while others flock to trendy restaurants in droves for a taste of goose chitterlings or rabbit and quail liver pâté. [1-3] Whether you consider offal a delicacy or not, plan what you eat to preserve the health of your own innards and prevent the awful outcome depicted within the inset photo.

Garbage In. Garbage Out.

Unfortunately, what we put into our bodies is not always motivated by healthy logic. If that were the case, there would be no ice cream parlors or candy shops. NYC mayor Bloomberg wouldn't have a junk food cause to quash and Zucchini On a Stick would make shopping-mall fast food chains wealthy. We generally eat food because it looks and smells delicious. But what really counts is what's inside — its nutrition.

One thing lacking from most fast food "meals" is roughage. Don't defend the lone pickle slice or spoonful of iceberg lettuce occasionally included on an artery-clogging burger. Though it comes in many forms, roughage might simply be equated with dietary fiber. It consists of grains and textures that are not entirely broken down through digestion. Remaining in tact allows roughage to add a sense of fullness, which can minimize the desire to overeat. The fiber traveling through our intestines also gives bulk to departing wastes. This helps scrub the digestive tract and bowel. [4] Trouble-free elimination is a reason healthy chefs may include things like kale, celery, wheat germ, nuts or dried fruits in dishes.

Maintain a Healthy Digestive Tract

Stools that are loose or have the consistency of moist clay can leave residual wastes, including processed-food carcinogenic substances, in the folds of the colon. This is a good indication of the need for more insoluble fiber. Prepare meals with more cellulose and lignin like fibrous kale and lightly steamed broccoli. Conversely, constipation can result from a lack of water-soluble fiber found in foods with psyllium or pectin.

Foods high in fiber… can lower risk for colorectal cancer.

Alice Bender, MS, RD, a nutritionist for the American Institute for Cancer Research, says the evidence on fiber and colon cancer, while mixed, is strong enough to make recommendations. "Our 2007 expert report looked at all the studies and concluded that foods high in fiber, not necessarily the fiber itself, can lower risk for colorectal cancer." So fiber, in and of itself has no cancer-fighting properties, but the function of fiber in the digestive tract may eliminate toxins, thereby minimizing the risk of cancer. Interestingly, roughage helps with more than colorectal cancer. There are also lower incidences of stomach, mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophageal cancers.

Alice Bender and Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society suggests these guidelines [5]:

  • Eat a mostly plant-based diet.
  • Use the new American plate mode: Fill two-thirds of your plate with plants foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, and one-third with lean or low-fat animal products.
  • Limit red meat to 18 ounces per week.
  • Avoid processed meats.

It is awfully stressful to battle colon cancer — a disease that literally eats you up from the inside out. [6] Cole slaw may be a wiser choice than potato chips with that lunchtime deli sandwich. If you follow the advice of noted dietitians, continue to include various forms of fiber in your diet so you can remain A Bit More Healthy. Now, what fiber will you be enjoying today? If you need suggestions, visit us on Pinterest.

Colon image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
Tags: adenomatous polyps, carcinoma, dieticians, gastroenterology, oncology

  1. Offal. ^
  2. Offal Healthy: The Nutritional Value of Variety Meats. ^
  3. A guide to America's most "offal" restaurants. ^
  4. What is Roughage? ^
  5. The Benefits of Fiber: For Your Heart, Weight, and Energy. ^
  6. Build a Treatment Plan. ^