Keeping Your Colon Clean
Drink more water. Add more fiber to your diet. Eat healthy and make sure you exercise. Follow that advice and your chances for living a long, healthy life increase ten-fold.
Those healthy living tenets are particularly relevant for maintaining a clean colon and drastically minimizing the risk of colorectal cancer.
The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons explain that the approximately five foot long large intestine, known as the colon, is an important part of the digestive system for processing and preparing the body’s waste products for elimination. Colon problems range from occasional bloating and constipation to gas, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, polyps and colorectal cancers.
Statistics and studies reported by the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Cancer Society and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics indicate a healthy diet is one of the most significant factors in colon health. A recent study by the American Cancer Society, for example, showed that colorectal cancer patients who followed healthy diets had a lower mortality risk, including those who improved their diets after diagnosis.
A clean, healthy colon lifestyle incorporates the following guidelines:
- Add high fiber foods to your diet to keep food waste moving along and out of the digestive system. Oatmeal for breakfast is a good start.
- Don’t forget about Vitamin D. Clinical nutritionists report that 15 to 20 minutes of sunshine a day along with vitamin-enriched bread, cereals, and fatty fish are good for the colon.
- Drink up. Set a goal of drinking two-liters of water a day to keep your body clean on the inside with less chance for constipation, bloating, and gas.
- Go to the bathroom. Don’t wait until you get home to empty your bowels. You might prefer the privacy, but holding it in leads to a build-up of fecal matter and possible toxicity.
- Exercise. No need to say more–exercise increases the oxygen flowing through the colon.
- Consider a colon cleanse. With the increased emphasis on alternative medicine, colon flushes are becoming the latest trend in colon health. Flushes are not for everyone. Be sure to consult your physician before you schedule a flush or try to do one on your own.
- Don’t wait to call your doctor. If you are experiencing abdominal pain or consistent rounds of constipation and diarrhea, call. Remember, the majority of colon disorders, including colon cancer, can be prevented or treated with early detection.
- Schedule a colonoscopy. If you are over 50 or have a family history of colon disease, make an appointment. ■
Be sure to consult a gastroenterologist or family practitioner about a colon health plan that is appropriate for you.