5 Foods that Promote Colon Health

Colorectal cancers are the most common gastrointestinal cancers and the third leading cause of cancer deaths. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to promote colon health and prevent colon cancer.

The experienced team of digestive specialists at Illinois Gastroenterology Group combines the latest scientific research and technology with compassionate, patient-centered care to diagnose and treat conditions that affect the digestive system. 

Our team is dedicated to raising colon cancer awareness and empowering patients to take a proactive approach to preventing colon cancer.

Colon health overview

Your colon (large intestine) works with other organs to remove waste and maintain fluid and mineral balance. Forming stool is a major job of the colon, which spans six feet. To form a firm stool, the colon absorbs water from the waste. 

Beginning at the end of the small intestine, the colon has six distinct sections (cecum, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon, and rectum).

The colon wall has four layers: the mucosa, submucosa, muscularis propria, and serosa. The mucosa helps move stool through the colon, while the submucosa supports the mucosa and joins it to the muscular layer. 

The muscularis propria is a muscular layer. Once cancer reaches this layer, it is more likely that it can spread to other parts of the body. The serosa is the outermost layer of the colon. Once cancer reaches this area it has metastasized (spread).

5 foods that help keep your colon healthy

Here are 5 healthy foods to incorporate into your diet to help prevent colon cancer.

1. Oats

Oats should be high on your list of foods for a healthy colon. Oats are rich in dietary fiber, and oat fiber not only protects against heart disease, it promotes colon health as well. Eating a diet rich in fiber lowers the chances of developing colon cancer.

Most adults fail to eat enough fiber. It’s recommended that adults get 25-30 grams of fiber each day. What’s more, according to research, for every additional 10 grams of fiber you eat, you reduce your risk of colon cancers by 10%.

2. Dried plums

Your colon is home to trillions of bacteria, and the composition of this bacteria influences gut health. Dried plums lower the risk for colon cancer by helping the colon retain beneficial bacteria, according to research from Texas A&M University. They’re also an excellent source of soluble fiber and rich in vitamin K.

3. Beans and legumes

Beans belong to a special group of vegetables called legumes. They’re packed with beneficial nutrients, including both soluble and insoluble fiber. Eating beans lowers the risk of colon cancer, as well as breast and prostate cancer. 

What’s more, beans are low-glycemic food and a good source of protein. Including plenty of dried beans, bean soups, and other legumes in your diet significantly cuts colon cancer risk.

4. Dark leafy greens

Powerful antioxidants called carotenoids found in dark leafy greens protect the body from cancer-causing substances and reduce the chances of not only developing colon cancer but also cancers of the mouth, throat, and stomach. Dark leafy greens come in a wide variety and are packed with many other nutrients.

5. Tree nuts

While tree nuts are commonly known for their beneficial fat and protein content, they also help keep your colon healthy and reduce the risk of colon cancer. What’s more, tree nuts help prevent cancer from returning, thereby increasing survival rates in people diagnosed with colon cancer, according to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and pistachios.

Overall, a healthy diet can help protect against colon cancers. Keep in mind that the foods you avoid are equally important. Limiting consumption of red meat and processed meat protects against colon cancer.

Regular screenings play a key role in keeping your colon healthy. To learn more about colon health screenings like colonoscopy, or to schedule an appointment with one of the gastroenterologists at Illinois Gastroenterology Group, contact us.  

We have offices in Elgin, South Elgin, and Lake in the Hills, Illinois. Call the nearest office to schedule an appointment or request a visit online.

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