Shining a light on bowel cancer prevention with Amanda Maiorano

Shining a light on bowel cancer prevention with Amanda Maiorano

Amanda is the recipe developer, food photographer and dietitian behind Made By Mandy. Her recipes celebrate simple home cooking to make you feel good, without compromising on taste!

"Over the years I have learnt how powerful food is. Not only is it a source of nourishment, but more importantly, it brings people together to find a sense of unity and community. That’s where my love for styling and photography comes in - it allows me to tell a story and give the viewer a moment to think, to react, to feel and to understand all the beauty that food has to offer.”

Made By Mandy was created in 2017 as a creative outlet to share Amanda’s love for cooking and find a sense of community through food. Since then, she developed a passion for recipe development, food photography and styling. Over the past seven years Amanda has worked closely with incredible businesses like KitchenAid, Keep It Cleaner, Cobram Estate and Le Creuset to bring a fresh and engaging eye to their brand.

In 2020 Amanda graduated from Flinders University with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics. Amanda shares her time between recipe development and private practice, where she helps clients improve their overall health and wellbeing without a focus on diets or restriction.

Despite bowel cancer being commonly diagnosed in Australia, it is potentially one of the most preventable cancers through early detection from screening. The link between lifestyle factors, such as diet, and the risk of bowel cancer was first reposted by Denis Burkitt in the early 1970s. In recent years, further studies have similarly suggested that individuals who consume more fibre-rich foods have reduced risks of colorectal/bowel cancers. In fact, the 2018 report by the World Cancer Research Fund concluded that there is strong evidence for a protective effect of foods containing dietary fibre against bowel cancer, and their Cancer Prevention Recommendations advise the consumption of >30g fibre per day (WCRF, 2018).
WHAT IS DIETARY FIBRE?

Dietary fibre is a type of indigestible carbohydrate that helps keep our digestive system healthy. Dietary fibre is mainly found in wholegrain cereals, fruits, vegetables and legumes. There are two key types of dietary fibre, the first being soluble fibre, which soaks up water like a sponge and helps to add bulk to stools. This fibre is great for slowing down the rate of digestion and also helps to reduce LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. Food sources of soluble fibre include fruit and vegetables, barley, flaxseed, psyllium husk and legumes. Alternatively, there is also insoluble fibre which is responsible for speeding up the time in which food passes through the gut and helps to soften stools, therefore supporting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. Food sources of insoluble fibre include wholegrain breads and cereals, oats, nuts, seeds, and the skin from fruit and vegetables.

HOW DOES DIETARY FIBRE IMPACT RISK OF BOWEL CANCER?

One of the main ways that dietary fibre can help reduce risk of bowel cancer is by limiting the exposure of the large bowel’s lining to harmful carcinogens. Dietary fibre is responsible for this in many ways, including binding carcinogens to stools, then expelling them from the body promptly.

Secondly, dietary fibre with prebiotic effects can also increase the amount and diversity of your gut bacteria. The beneficial gut bacteria convert fibre into short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, which reduce the ability of cells in the intestine to become cancerous.

Finally, dietary fibre and butyrate also have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can give rise to various diseases including bowel cancer, and people with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as ulcerative colitis are at greater risk of developing bowel cancer.