11 Ways to Maintain Your Colon Health
Looking for ways to preserve your colon health? Here are a few tips to help you keep your colon healthy and reduce the risk for developing any health conditions of the digestive tract.
The colon or the large intestine plays a crucial role in the digestive process, being the ultimate stop in the food’s passage through the gastrointestinal tract. By absorbing fluid from indigestible food residue, the colon produces solid waste for elimination. That is why keeping it fully functional and healthy is essential. You can achieve colon health through a variety of ways, such as:
A Fiber-Rich Diet
Adding fiber-rich foods to your diet is the first step toward boosting your colon health. Consuming between 25 and 35g of fiber daily helps your body flush toxins that often account for many digestive problems. Beans, prunes, peas, almonds, berries, avocado, and crunchy vegetables (think broccoli) are great sources of fiber. Eating whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat, and whole wheat cereals also helps.
By eating fiber and keeping waste moving along the gastrointestinal tract, the intestines stay clean and lower the risk for developing diverticular disease.
Stay Away From Steak and Sausage
Processed meats in any form, according to recent research, accounts for an increased risk of colon cancer. Researchers advise on reducing consumption of red meat to less than 18 ounces per week and excluding processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, and hot dogs from our diet if we want to keep our digestive tract healthy. A 2014 study published in the Current Colorectal Cancer Reports journal suggests that colon cancer risk rises by 14 percent with each extra 100g of red meat eaten daily. Investigators suspect that due to the smoking and curing treatments that meats are subjected to while processing, certain chemical changes occur. These changes combined with the saturated fat and the heme iron content are suspected to be colon cancer risk factors.
Eat Healthy Fats
Choose foods rich in unsaturated fats and stay away from those high in saturated and trans fats! Polyunsaturated fats reduce blood cholesterol levels and boost cell health, experts say.
For a healthy colon, eat wild salmon, milled flax-seed, walnuts and plant-based oils (such as olive oil) every day. These are rich sources of omega -3 fatty acids, which have been associated with a decrease in colon cancer risks.
It takes more than an apple a day to keep digestive diseases away! Fruits and vegetables are known to be high in antioxidants and support digestion. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, eating 10g of fiber daily can reduce colon cancer risks by 10%. Add some color to your dish! The more colorful your food is, the greater the benefits. Each veggie family defined by its color has a unique combination of antioxidants and phytochemicals, thereby promoting cell health and metabolism.
However, when it comes to colon health, make sure to include orange and yellow fruits and veggies in your colorful bunch. Fruits and vegetables from this color range are high in beta-carotene, which has also been connected with a drop in colon cancer risks. So, feast on carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and summer squash!
Increase Intake of Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps prevent colon cancer and supports colon health, experts say. The sources of vitamin D are varied. Did you know that sunlight exposure for about 15-20 minutes aids in vitamin D absorption? Make sure you eat enough fatty fish, fortified milk and cereal, cheese, and egg yolks. However, if your diet does not provide enough of this nutrient, taking a supplement is always a good alternative. Furthermore, vitamin D is known to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Do You Feel It Coming? Off to the Bathroom!
Holding a bowel movement is not beneficial to your colon, as it enables fecal matter buildup. The longer it stays in your body the more toxins it releases, which may increase your risk for diverticulosis and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Regular bowel movements keep your colon clean and healthy. Whenever you feel a bowel movement coming, head for the bathroom and let it out.
Hydration is key to body cleansing. Improper hydration often causes toxins to build up in the body, thereby increasing the risk of constipation, fatigue, gas, bloating, and IBS.
Adding fruit and veggie juices and smoothies, clear soups, and herbal teas to your diet is highly beneficial to your colon, improving your metabolism. The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommends that women drink 91 ounces of water from beverages and food daily, while men should consume 125 ounces every day.
Reduce Alcohol and Caffeine Intake
Speaking of hydration, alcohol and caffeine can have exactly the opposite effect if consumed regularly in large quantities. In turn, dehydration slows down bowel movement. German researcher Christiane Bode, Ph.D., argues that frequent consumption of caffeine and alcohol accounts for a reduction in the muscle contraction needed for proper bowel movement. This often causes diarrhea, commonly observed among individuals who drink a lot. Both caffeine and alcohol have a diuretic action. By doing so, they absorb water from your body, making stools become hard and dry in consistency. This often leads to digestive problems.
Physical activity has numerous health benefits. Among these, it has been proven to be highly beneficial to colon health. By simply increasing blood flow and improving circulation, a workout causes the blood vessels to dilate, facilitating oxygen transport to all the areas of the body, including the colon. This in turn promotes bowel movement supporting natural body cleansing. Even if you adopt a moderate workout routine like yoga, stretching or walking for 15 minutes on a daily basis, it will be just about enough to maintain a healthy colon. Additionally, this may also help prevent colon cancer and other diseases of the digestive tract.
Despite that it is hardly a pleasant experience, a colonoscopy is essential for the prevention and early diagnosis of colon cancer. Starting from the age of 50, it is advisable that you have a colonoscopy. If you experience persistent or chronic diarrhea or constipation, ask your physician about a colonoscopy. These are most often signs of colon and intestinal disorders. Colonoscopies can help to early diagnose any problems and find proper treatment.
There are multiple ways to cleanse your colon, some of them natural. Among the various colon-cleansing procedures, colon flushes are the most popular. Colon flushes have the ability to wash out the toxins and waste that has remained blocked in the colon. That is why if you suffer from constipation, a colon flush can always help regulate bowel movement and restore proper functionality of the colon. There is a wide range of herbal and mineral colon-flushing treatments available to choose from, which you can tailor to suit your individual needs. However, if you have any questions or concerns, it is best to seek advice from your doctor.