Keeping your colon healthy might not be top of mind, but it’s definitely something you don’t want to ignore.
Gut health can play a significant role in how your body functions, from how you feel to how your immune system works. Much of the bacteria that help determine these outcomes resides in the colon.
So, in the big picture, what is good for your colon is good for your overall health.
Here are five things you can do right now, and start at any age, to help improve the health of your colon.
Eat Vegetables and Healthy Fats: Research suggests that the Western diet of highly processed foods, plenty of sugar, and dangerously low fiber contributes to colon problems. In fact, common ages for severe colon troubles continue to get younger.
But people who eat high-fiber diets are far more likely to maintain better gut and colon health. Fiber is a non-digestible compound found in whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which essentially act as food for healthy gut bacteria.
Good fats like those found in nuts, avocado, olive oil, and fish are also great for colon health.
Get Activity: Yes, exercise can benefit your heart and brain, but it’s also good for your gut. The type of exercise doesn’t matter, either. Just aim for at least 30 minutes per day on at least five days of the week.
Manage Your Weight: Bodyweight, particularly body fat, plays a role in colon health. But here’s a tip: if you’re eating better and moving (the top two things to boost colon health), you’ll likely begin to start shedding extra weight.
Limit Alcohol and Quit Smoking: Drinking more than a moderate amount, defined as one drink per day for women and two for men, can increase the risk for colon troubles. Do your best to stock in this range and only exceed it for a special occasion.
If you smoke, quitting is highly recommended. Talk to your doctor about the strategy that’s best for you.
Stay Current with Check-Ups: Make sure you stay up to date with colon screenings and other tests that can help determine the health of your gut. That way, you can learn about and act on any problems as quickly as possible.