In honor of National Colorectal Awareness Month, we are reposting this important information from 2019.
A healthy diet and lifestyle continues to be an important way to keep your digestive tract healthy!
Adjusting your diet and lifestyle to prioritize colon health can help with regularity, constipation, and fatigue. According to the American Cancer Society, one in 22 men and one in 24 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime. Taking care of your colon is important in an attempt to prevent colon cancer.
Why it’s important
The health of your colon can affect the entirety of your digestive system. If your colon is working properly, you will be stronger and feel better to fight disease.
How to keep your colon healthy
1. 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.
2. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
Diets that incorporate ample fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have been linked to a decreased risk of colon cancer. This is in part due to the nutrients and antioxidants that are present in these foods, the high fiber content, as well as the correlation between diet and weight and colon-related illness.
3. Limit red meat and processed foods
Red meat and highly processed foods are full of saturated fat, which has been associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. Oftentimes, the preparation of red meat is done in a way that produces carcinogens.
4. 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.
5. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise can encourage more consistent bowel movements. The increase in blood flow and circulation makes your GI system more effective overall. Studies have shown that exercise, especially more rigorous forms, can greatly reduce the risk of developing some digestive disturbances.
Get your colonoscopy! 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.
Is your colon healthy? Visit a provider at Voyage Healthcare
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for both men and women combined, second only to lung cancer. However, colorectal cancer can be cured in up to 90% of men and women when discovered early, and about 40,000 lives per year can be saved with colorectal cancer screening and early treatment.
The American Cancer Society recommends that people of average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45 and then every ten years. People at increased risk should start screening earlier and be screened more often.
Whether it's time for a colonoscopy or you're looking for more information about how to keep your colon healthy, schedule an appointment at Voyage Healthcare to discuss your health! Our colon and rectal surgeons see patients at the Crystal, Maple Grove, and Plymouth offices.