Wait, what? I have to worry about my Colon Health? Yes, you do! You use your colon every day, multiple times a day. You have to take care of it and treat it right, or it just might cause you the kind of trouble you definitely don’t want. Read on to learn more about colon health!
What Does My Colon Health Have to do With Anything?
Your colon is the passageway for your body’s waste. There are specific things that must take place for everything to—ahem—pass–without issues. Diet, exercise, and other factors determine your colon health. They can either cause or prevent problems.
Experts agree, the best diet for colon health contains high amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber. They also recommend including an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, and low amounts of refined foods, processed foods, and sugars.
Soluble fiber is found in legumes, peas, sweet potatoes, and avocados. This type of fiber forms a gel in your gut and draws in water. It makes your stools softer and prevents constipation.
This type of fiber is found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps it remain solid.
Get out there and move! It doesn’t matter what you do. Do whatever you enjoy. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
Go for a walk, take a hike. Take your dog for a walk or play at the park with your kids/grandkids/nieces/nephews…do anything! Swimming also gives you an amazing workout, so if you’re like me and would rather be under water, go for it!!
What Happens If I Don’t Take Care of My Colon?
There are several things that can happen if you have a poor diet and you are not aware of your colon health. Colon cancer, Crohn’s Disease, Diverticulitis, and Celiac disease are just a few of the issues that affect the colon.
According to the Mayo Clinic, early signs of colon cancer include:
- A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool, that lasts longer than four weeks
- Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
- Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
- A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
If you or anyone you know are suffering from these symptoms, get checked out by your doctor immediately. The sooner you catch colon cancer, (or any cancer, for that matter), the greater the chances of saving your colon, or your life!
Crohn’s Disease affects many people and the symptoms can be varied from person to person. Some symptoms may come and go while others are persistent. You may have periods of remission where you have no symptoms, and other periods where symptoms are mild or severe.
Symptoms, also according to the Mayo Clinic, may include:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Mouth sores
- Inflammation of skin, eyes and joints
- Blood in your stool
- Reduced appetite and weight loss
- Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
- Delayed growth or sexual development, in children
Doctors are not sure what causes this disease, but they have hypothesized that it has to do with the immune system and heredity. Age or ethnicity may also be a factor.
Diverticula are small pouches in the digestive system lining. They are most often found in the colon. Inflammation and/or infection of these pouches is called Diverticulitis.
- Nausea & Vomiting
- Tenderness of the stomach area
- Constipation or sometimes diarrhea
Sometimes diverticulitis can be healed with antibiotics and rest, other times it requires surgery to remove the diverticula.
Causes of Diverticulitis include low exercise, a diet high in fat and low in fiber, aging, obesity, and smoking, among others.
This disease is a bit different than the others. When you have celiac disease, whenever you eat something that contains gluten, it triggers an immune response. The immune response causes inflammation in your intestines.
Repeated bouts of inflammation can eventually damage the lining of your intestines. This can cause problems with nutrient absorption, which can cause malnutrition.
People with Celiac disease should maintain a gluten-free diet. Unless you have an allergy to gluten (NOT the same thing as Celiac disease) or sensitivity to gluten, there is no other reason to follow a gluten-free diet.
There are loads of other issues caused by celiac disease. You can read more HERE.
Be Your Colon’s Best Friend
Eat more fiber and less fat. Add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Exercise regularly and get a good amount of decent sleep.
If you have a family history of any of these colon diseases, you may still be able to prevent them if you follow these tips.
Keep Your Colon Happy!