The colon, also known as the large intestine, is responsible for removing waste from the body as well as retaining water and sodium levels. The colon walls are coated with a balance of good and bad bacteria which helps prevent the growth of polyps, controls intestinal inflammation and produce vitamins for absorption into the body. A combination of diet and preventative care can help prevent common colorectal related diseases.
Some of the most common colon conditions include colitis, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease and colon polyps. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two inflammatory bowel diseases and their cause is unknown. All of these conditions can lead to more serious conditions such as colon cancer. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer. While a family history of the disease always increases risk, 75 to 95 percent of people diagnosed did not have a genetic link to the disease.
Diet plays a large part in colon health. Live active cultures, or probiotics, found in yogurt, bananas and some fermented vegetables can help prevent inflammation of the colon and polyps according to recent studies. The probiotic strain Lactobacillus acidophilus has been shown to help prevent and treat symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Foods and supplements with probiotic strains known to help intestinal healthy can be helpful in preventing colon-related illnesses. In addition, an increase in dietary fiber, specifically whole grains, can help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulitis, and potentially reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Keeping a healthy colon can result in an overall healthy feeling throughout the entire body. Typically, overeating or filling up on unhealthy foods can lead to abdominal pressure and bloating, constipation or diarrhea. You can prevent these discomforts by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and complex carbs. Eliminate as many white or refined carbs as possible. Increase your intake of vitamins A and D to help prevent colorectal diseases. Healthy fats such as Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s can help maintain the mucosal lining of the colon.
The best way to keep the colon functioning properly and help prevent colon-related illnesses is through a healthy lifestyle which includes a healthy, well-balanced diet, regular exercise, not smoking and regular check-ups.