By taking some simple steps to improve your diet you can help reduce your risk of getting colorectal cancer. It is important that you:

Consider what you are eating

You should consider eating more antioxidants such as carotenoids, flavonoids, selenium, folate, vitamin C and E may help help to protect cells from damage. These are found in most fruits and vegetables. Eating a variety of brightly coloured plant foods ensures that all antioxidant vitamins are provided by the diet.

Eat plenty of fibre

Experts said cereal fibre and whole grains in particular cut the risk but found "no significant evidence" of a reduction for fibre in fruit, vegetables and legumes such as lentils and beans. Food with high fibre content, moves through the gut quickly. A reduction in stool transit time is an important factor in bowel cancer prevention. The shorter the time that waste is left in the colon the less likely the bowel is to be exposed to toxic chemicals, which researchers suspect contribute to an increased risk of the disease.

Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day

Five a day is based on advice from the World Health Organization, which recommends eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity. To get the most benefit out of your five a day, your five portions should include a variety of fruit and vegetables. This is because different fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your fie a day, except potatoes and cassava because they mainly contribute starch to the diet.

Avoid processed meats and have no more than 500g of red meat per week

You should particularly limit the intake of fatty and processed meat like burgers, sausages or ready meals, and meat which has been burnt or charred. The chemicals produced in cooking red meat are thought to be harmful to the gut lining.

Limit fat intake

You should particularly avoid saturated fat, the kind found in meat and dairy products, and trans-fats (which are a result of food processing) found in many pre-packed foods and baked goods such as pastries. Both may be linked to the formation of bowel polyps.

Keep hydrated and avoid drinks containing caffeine

Drinking 1.5-2 liters of water per day will aid digestion and help prevent constipation. Tea, coffee, cola and some popular non-alcoholic bedtime drinks contain caffeine, which encourages the fluid we drink to pass quickly through our waterworks rather than circulate through the bowel.

Limit your alcohol intake

A high intake of any type of alcohol is thought to increase risk of colorectal cancer. The recommended weekly allowance is 14 units for a woman and 21 units for men. One unit is approximately half a pint of beer, half a glass of wine or one measure of spirits.