A healthy colon is essential for good health. The colon absorbs nutrients and helps eliminate waste. Digestive issues can prevent proper absorption of water and vitamins. It may also cause toxins and waste to build up, which can have a negative impact on health.
Drink enough water
Stay well hydrated to help the body have enough lubrication to move waste through the colon. This does not mean you have to drink large amounts of water throughout the day.
Water-rich fruits and vegetables count toward your fluid intake. For example, pineapple and oranges contain 87 percent water by weight. Cauliflower and spinach contain 92 percent water.
Get plenty of fiber-rich foods
Fiber adds bulk to waste materials to help the colon create well-formed stools, and ensures regularity. Aim for 30-40 grams of fiber a day.
Good sources of fiber to include in your diet each day are fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. For example, a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast; fresh berries on a salad for lunch; and lentil soup with dinner.
Eat the vitamin alphabet
The digestive system can get the nutrients it needs through food. Vitamins A, C, D and B vitamins support the digestive system. Eat fish, dark leafy greens and other colorful vegetables and fruits to obtain these essential vitamins.
Add healthy fats
Healthy fats are important for cell health, including those of your large intestine. Healthy fats help the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A and D, which play integral roles in colon health.
Healthy fats to consume include avocados, olives, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, cold-water fish, nuts and seeds.
Add a source of probiotics to your routine
Consider taking a high quality probiotic. Probiotics are good gut bacteria that promote optimal digestion and prevent accumulation of toxins in the body.
Fermented foods, such as raw sauerkraut and kombucha, provide probiotics too. Find them in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
Add resistant starches to your diet
Resistant starches are carbohydrates that resist digestion in the small intestine. They reach the colon undigested and provide food to good gut bacteria. This grows the colonies of the good bacteria, while slowing down the growth of bad bacteria. Unripe bananas, and cooked and cooled rice and potatoes contain resistant starches.
Prepare foods with care
Some food preparations may increase the risk of colon cancer. For example, burning or charring meat on the grill can create carcinogenic substances.
Try grilling meats with indirect heat or in a grill basket to avoid charring. Try braising, baking or poaching as gentle cooking methods.
Manage stress levels
Constant stress can have an impact on digestive and colon health. When stress activates the “flight or fight” response, the central nervous system disrupts the digestive system by shutting down blood flow, affecting the contractions of digestive muscles, and decreasing secretions needed for digestion.
If chronic stress is an issue, seek effective coping strategies.
Make sure to exercise
Of course, exercise benefits the mind and body. However, it also promotes colon health.
Exercise increases circulation and blood flow in the gastrointestinal system and promotes healthy elimination.
Walking, jogging, yoga and rebounding are efficient workouts to increase circulation to all systems in the body while contributing to colon health.
These suggestions will support total wellness while promoting specific benefits for colon health.