When looking for ways to get and keep colon healthy , these tips can be helpful. Following these detoxification suggestions may prolong your life by assisting with the risk-reduction of potentially preventable illnesses like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), diverticulosis, and colon cancer. In addition, they can promote an attrition of the discomforts of bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, and gas.
Now that message will be coming a bit sooner. The American Cancer Society recently updated those screening guidelines, recommending most people get their first colonoscopy at age 45.
Maintaining your body’s overall health through healthy eating is something you often hear about, but sometimes it’s hard to convert this knowledge into a positive lifestyle. This post is going to explore why this is essential and the many different ways your diet and food choices have a tremendous impact on how you feel and can help prevent the third deadliest cancer in the U.S., colon cancer and rectal cancer – known collectively as colorectal cancer.
Colon cancer rates have been increasing in younger people. The change in the guideline is designed to help catch those cancers earlier, when they’re more likely to be curable.
In most cases, small polyps form that become cancerous over time. These polyps have few, if any, symptoms. Therefore, doctors recommend screening tests to help prevent colon cancer. A colonoscopy can identify any polyps which doctors can remove before they become cancerous.
The ACS recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45. However, it’s important to know your risk factor. African-Americans have the highest colorectal cancer rate of all racial groups in the United States. If you have a family history of colon cancer or you have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease you are also at higher risk. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin colon cancer screenings.
The health of your colon can affect the entirety of your digestive system. If your colon healthy is working properly, you will be stronger and feel better to fight disease.
Keeping Your Colon Healthy Can Save Your Life
Eat Your Veggies and Healthy Fats.
“Research has shown that the Western diet correlates to higher colon cancer rates,” says Salwa Bakkali-Derksen, D.O., an internal medicine provider at Mayo Clinic Health System in Owatonna, Minnesota. “People who eat high-fiber diets are less likely to develop the disease.” She also recommends limiting the amount of meat you eat, especially processed meats.
Dr. Bakkali-Derksen emphasizes the importance of consuming healthy fats found in olive oil, salmon rich in Omega-3, avocados and nuts, as well as limiting low-processed fats found in fried food.
Consume A High Fiber Diet
Consuming 25-35 grams of fiber per day is an important part of maintaining a healthy colon, as fiber increases feelings of fullness and promotes regular bowel movements. By keeping things moving through the colon, you’ll reduce the chances of developing colon-related disease.
Some great sources of fiber include nuts, seeds, berries, lentils, beans, broccoli, carrots, apples, pears, and peas. Aim to incorporate these foods into your daily diet.
Limiting Red Meat And Processed Meat
he World Health Organization released a report in 2015 that brought together twenty-two experts from 10 countries who reviewed more than 800 studies to reach the following conclusions regarding processed meat as a carcinogen (or cancer causing agent). The results were startling:
- Eating just under two ounces (50 grams) of processed meat every day increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. That’s the equivalent of about 4 strips of bacon or 1 hot dog
- For red meat, there was evidence of increased risk of colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.
What can you eat instead? The American Cancer Society Guidelines on nutrition recommend choosing fish, poultry and beans. However, so as not to remove all fun from our diet, they say that the “occasional hot dog or hamburger is okay.” Just don’t make a habit of it.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that a steady intake of Vitamin D is advantageous when trying to prevent colon cancer and maintain a healthy colon. You can get Vitamin D from a variety of sources including the sun (15-20 minutes of daily exposure is sufficient) and foods like bread, fatty fish, milk, and cereal. If your foods do not supply enough Vitamin D, taking a supplement may be warranted. Vitamin D may also help prevent osteoporosis.
Watch Your Weight.
According to the American Cancer Society, carrying extra pounds increases your risk of colon cancer, as well as cancers of the breast (in postmenopausal women), rectum, esophagus, pancreas and kidney, among others. Talk to your provider if you need help losing weight.
The most common test for colon cancer is a colonoscopy. This is when the entire colon is viewed using a flexible camera while the patient is under anesthesia. Any polyps that are found can be immediately and safely removed. Other tests include a sigmoidoscopy, where just the lower colon is examined, and fecal occult blood test (FOBT), which is a lab test to check stool samples for hidden (occult) blood. If FOBT shows blood in the stool, then a colonoscopy is needed to examine the colon.
Drink Enough Water
When you’re not properly hydrated, toxins can build up in your body. Drinking eight or more glasses of water a day can help move toxins and excrement through your colon more quickly.
Keeping track of how much water you’re drinking or setting water goals throughout the day can help you stay hydrated.
Avoid Bad Habits (Including Stress)
Everything from coffee to alcohol can impact the way your digestive system — and your colon, in particular — functions. Overindulging in these substances can quickly lead to issues like heartburn and stomach ulcers. If you have a bad habit related to cigarettes, alcohol, or other substances, look for resources to help you cut back and ultimately quit.
Bad habits don’t just involve physical substances. Many of us have a bad habit of allowing stress to invade our lives. Frequent anxiety and stress can push your digestive system into overdrive. Yoga and meditation practices lower stress for many people, while others find breathing techniques or relaxing hobbies — like reading, coloring, or brain puzzles — to be effective stress reducers.
Speaking of bad habits, remember to take time to relax and chew your meals. In our fast-paced society, we’re all prone to eating food as quickly as possible, but chewing is crucial when it comes to supporting your digestive system and colon. Experts recommend that you should chew each bite 30 times before swallowing!
You’re Better Off With Less Alcohol
When it comes to drinking alcohol, it’s not the type of alcohol that matters, it’s the amount you consume. Negative effects of overconsumption are well known in terms of social problems, but when it comes to risking cancer, fewer people are aware of the impact of alcohol. Alcohol is known to cause cancers of the:
- Throat (pharynx)
- Voice box (larynx)
- Colon and rectum
Cleansing Your Colon
There are also natural ways to keep your colon clean. Pay a visit to your local alternative medicine center to learn about the colon-cleansing treatments they have to offer.
Colon flushes are a popular procedure, and are believed to wash out toxins and waste material that have become trapped in your colon. If you suffer from constipation, a colon flush can be the best way to regain regular bowel movements and restore your colon’s health. With a variety of special herb and mineral infusions available, colon flushes can be tailored to suit your unique needs. Although self-administered colon cleansing kits are available, you should seek advice from a health professional before attempting your first treatment.
It’s recommended that you start getting colonoscopies at 50 years old. The polyps and abnormalities that lead to colon cancer can be removed to stop the development or spread of the disease, making colon cancer a highly treatable disease if found early on.
For individuals whose immediate family member has been diagnosed with colon cancer or polyps, it is recommended that you start getting colonoscopies at age 40 or 10 years prior to the diagnosis of your family member.
Even though there are more options for screening for colon cancer, a colonoscopy is the gold standard because it not only detects colon cancer but also finds and removes polyps that are the precursors of colon cancer.
Change Your Bathroom Behavior
No matter how busy you are — at work, at home, or on the move — if you feel a bowel movement coming, don’t hold it in! Find a bathroom as quickly as you can. Holding onto your movements can be dangerous, because this allows for the release of toxins back into your body.
If you struggle with bathroom movements, there may be a problem with the way you’re sitting. Evidence suggests that bathroom posture can be a serious problem. Research shows that squatting is not only more natural and efficient, but can help you to avoid digestive disturbances and hemorrhoids, too.
Taking Supplements Isn’t A Substitute For Eating Well
Because higher vegetable and fruit intake reduces cancer risk, scientists have been attempting to learn which specific nutrients from these foods are responsible. Unfortunately, as yet, studies have not found that supplements containing certain nutrients (like vitamins) reduce cancer risk, and some have even suggested they may cause harm. This is complicated because researchers must try to choose how best to give the supplement, including the exact dose, what group of people to give it to, and how long to give it for, which isn’t always known.
Although not all studies of nutritional supplements reducing cancer risk have been disappointing, there is no overwhelming evidence supporting their use in lowering cancer risk.
Read more Healthy Colon Foods You Should Eat