5 Tips for a Healthy Colon

March 1, 2018 Providence Health Team


5 easy tips to keep you "regular"

The colon can be the culprit of health problems seen as an everyday hassle, from constipation to gas and bloating, among other issues. There are simple steps you can work into your daily routine that will help keep your colon properly functioning. Here are our top five:

1. Eat more fiber.

To put it simply, fiber helps your digestive system move foods through your body efficiently, helping to normalize your bowel movements all day long. Putting more fiber in your diet can be as simple as adding some berries to your breakfast or eating a handful of nuts as your afternoon work snack. There are two types of fiber; soluble fiber found in oats, beans and fruits, and insoluble fiber found in wheat, nuts and potatoes. Because soluble fiber absorbs water as it moves through your body, it helps ward of diarrhea and keeps you regular. Insoluble fiber keeps you regular as well, by fighting constipation and keeping things moving along. If eating fibrous foods is a challenge, you can even increase fiber intake by taking a supplement.

2. Drink H2O.

Water is one of the most common and accessible ways to keep every last bit of your body happy and healthy, colon included. Drinking more water helps keep your colon clean and flush it of harmful toxins. Water also help dietary fiber pass through your body, allowing the colon to work properly. If you have trouble remembering to drink water daily, try buying a reusable water bottle and placing rubber bands around it. Each time you finish all the water in the bottle, remove a rubber band and refill it. That way you have a clear reminder how much water you have left to drink. The rule of thumb is that you should drink half of your weight in ounces of water each day. So if, for example, you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink at least 75 ounces of water daily.

3. Get up and move.

You don't have to be a health expert to know that exercise is important for your health. Exercising, even light exercise done consistently, increases circulation and blood flow, improving the colon’s overall performance. Take a walk, do some crunches, grab your child’s jump rope, or simply take the stairs instead of the elevator to work each day. Whatever the activity, start taking steps (literally!) toward a healthier colon and your body will thank you.

4. Go when you have to.

When nature calls, get up and go! Holding in a bowel movement for long periods of time can release harmful toxins into your body that cause problems like irritable bowel syndrome or diverticulosis. Suppressing the urge can also dehydrate your body and cause pain and constipation. It’s simple -- just don’t hold it!

5. Limit the amount of red meat.

Too much of anything is never good for you, and red meat is no exception. Red meat is full of saturated fat, and eating large amounts of it can increase risk of colon cancer. Why? A cancer-causing chemical known as N-nitroso compound is found in high concentrations in red meats, and it can directly affect your cells when consumed. If red meat is a staple in your diet, try limiting the amount you eat to less than 18 ounces per week, and avoid eating any salted or processed meats like bacon or sausage.learn more, read:

Learn more about how what you eat affects your whole body, including your colon

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.


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