Get Your Mind into Your Colon

by Lila Lazarus

I’m going to ask you to do something you may never have done before.  Take a moment to think about your colon. This isn’t just your personal garbage disposal. Your colon, which is your large bowel or intestine, plays an integral role in the quality of your life, and most people don’t even take a moment to appreciate the job their colon is doing! That is until it’s suddenly out of commission. And by then, it may be too late.

newlilacolumnart_2017Colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer. (Lung cancer has the No. 1 spot.) But colon cancer is 98 percent curable if detected early. And even more frustrating, it’s mostly preventable. That’s why I’m asking you to spend a full minute focused on ways to keep your colon healthy. If you do your job, your colon will thank you and do its job better, absorbing fluids, and housing good bacteria that break down and help process your waste.

People don’t usually pay attention or, heaven forbid, discuss their colon until there’s some sort of digestive issue— bloating, diarrhea or bloody stool. (If those symptoms last for even a few days, you need to be seen by a doctor.) 100,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer every year. Many of those people didn’t want to think about their colon even when the colon was sending red flags. But to avoid the troubles from the start, here are some things you can start doing TODAY to make your colon happy:

Drink water
Try to get your eight 8-ounce glasses a day to prevent bloating and constipation.

Exercise
Get moving and you’ll keep your colon moving. By increasing your blood circulation more oxygen gets to your colon. So walk, stretch, move. Make sure you’re getting at least 30 minutes of movement a day and you’ll end up with better…um…movement.

Eat more fiber
Men should eat at least 25 grams of fiber and women should take in closer to 32 grams. This will keep you regular and your colon likes regular.

Eat more vegetables and less red and processed meat
The American Cancer Society tells us your colon cancer risk increases by as much as 20 percent if you eat even a small amount of red meat every day. So limit your intake of hamburgers, bacon, pepperoni, sausage, etc.

Cut back on sugar
Sugar has been shown repeatedly to have a direct connection to cancer progression.

Get your calcium and vitamin D
More studies are showing they, too, may decrease your risk of colon cancer. It doesn’t have to be milk. Leafy greens like kale and spinach are loaded with calcium.

Vitamin D
If you’re not getting it from the sun, add some fatty fish, cereal and milk to your diet.

Just a few tweaks in your diet could prevent up to 90 percent of colon cancers.

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