There are some health conditions where you can exercise a lot of control, and others where you may not be so lucky. Colon health, thankfully, is something you might have a more significant say in than you realize.
Your colon primarily functions as a clean-up crew for the body. What’s left of food when it gets there (by the time food reaches your colon, all its vitamins and minerals have been extracted), water is removed, and colon-dwelling bacteria break food down to get it ready for removal. What you eat has a very important role in keeping these bacteria healthy and ensuring waste does not lead to infection.
Two keys to controlling colon health include eating a nutrient-dense diet and adding plenty of fiber-rich foods. Doing this can keep the walls of your colon healthy, prevent hemorrhoids or pouches in the colon, and potentially prevent polyps from forming. Eating fruit and vegetables, along with other fiber-rich foods, also help feed colon bacteria, so they remain healthy and diverse.
The typical Western diet is not particularly colon-conscious. It’s low in fiber and high in processed, refined, and greasy foods, which do little to promote colon health. In fact, they may increase the risk of trouble or illness in the area.
Foods that may help improve and maintain colon health, or prevent trouble, include:
- Dark leafy greens
- Legumes (various beans)
- Fruits with edible skin/seeds
- Whole grains
Aside from eating a diverse array of foods and those high in fiber, drinking fluids will also help maintain colon health. Water helps fiber move through the digestive system, allowing food to spend less time in the colon and be promptly removed. Basically, the easier food moves through your digestive system, the healthier your colon should be.