4 Diets That Support a Healthy Colon
Each part of the digestive system plays a critical role in a healthy functioning body. Specifically, the colon helps to absorb water and minerals and eliminate waste. Maintaining a healthy colon can help protect against uncomfortable intestinal disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Here are a few diets that support a healthy colon.
Diets for a healthy functioning colon
The colon helps absorb essential nutrients and calories and keeps your digestive system moving. Eating colon healthy foods can help prevent abdominal discomfort like bloating, constipation, gas, and cramping. At Birmingham Gastroenterology, we offer expert advice on all parts of the digestive system, including the large intestine and colon. Making healthy lifestyle choices, eating habits, and staying active all play a role in your colon’s overall health.
According to Harvard Health, those who ate a vegetarian diet posed a 22% lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who did not eat a vegetarian-based diet. A plant-based diet encompasses all foods that come from plants and are free of animal ingredients and is among diets that support a healthy colon. However, while eating a plant-based diet, it is crucial to focus on protein intake.
Some plant-based protein sources include tofu, edamame, chickpeas, quinoa, and lentils. In addition, plant-based diets can also reduce the risk of other diseases such as different types of cancer, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease. It is recommended to consume a wide array of colored fruits and vegetables, which provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. This colorful diet helps maintain a healthy gut, prevent constipation and other digestive health concerns.
High Fiber Diet
Other diets that support a healthy colon include a diet that is high in fiber. Dietary fiber is the part of plant foods our body cannot digest or break down. Fiber is recognized for its ability to prevent and relieve constipation. Chronic constipation can cause the colon to become dangerously enlarged and lead to additional health conditions in severe cases. Some high-fiber foods include:
- Whole Grains
Eating a high-fiber diet offers a wide range of benefits, such as helping maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of other diseases such as diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Nutrient-dense foods pack a big punch, offering vitamins, minerals, and fiber for a low number of calories. In fact, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, suggests that roughly 85% of the calories a person eats per day should be reserved for foods rich in nutrients that help a person meet food group recommendations. Focusing on consuming nutrient-dense foods is among diets that support a healthy colon.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 55% of all cancers diagnosed in women and 24% in men are associated with obesity. Replacing red meat with leaner proteins is a great way to decrease your risk of overweight or obesity while simultaneously reducing your risk of colon cancer. Some examples of lean protein include:
- White-fleshed fish
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Skinless white meat poultry
- Lowfat or nonfat dairy
- Tofu and other soy foods
- Nuts, nut butters, and seeds
Additionally, lean proteins such as salmon, tuna, and sardines have anti-inflammatory properties and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
A gastroenterologist is best equipped to diagnose any colon-based condition, and following these gastro-approved diet tips is a sure way to get your colon on the right track. Here at Birmingham Gastroenterology, we are here to help in every way we can. We have decades of experience treating diseases and disorders in all parts of the digestive system. Make an appointment or call us at (205) 271-8000 to discuss your symptoms and treatment options or to ask questions about diets that support a healthy colon.