It is the end of the year. Vacations from work, beautiful snow, family get-togethers, and notorious parties are abundant. As you enter the New Year, before the countdown, look around at your food plate. What are you eating? It is safe to assume it is not a plate of healthy veggies and grains, but more than likely fatty meats, refined carbs, and sweet desserts. Do you want your digestive system to suffer in the New Year? More specifically, do you want a sickly colon? Enter the New Year with a new outlook on providing a healthy environment for your colon and associated organs. Your healthy new year’s resolutions should include new behaviors to enhance your colon health.
Why Consider Colon Health?
The colon is very important to the digestive system, and your body. It receives food from the small intestine and dehydrates it into waste. Bacteria feed on the waste and further break it down via chemical digestion. The process rids the body of excess wastes and toxins. If the colon does not function properly, it can lead to health issues such as ulcerative colitis, colorectal polyps, constipation, and colon cancer.
The third most common cancer in the U.S. is colon/colorectal cancer. For 2022, the American Cancer Society predicts about 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer. Though the rate of colon cancer has dropped in the older population by one percent each year since the 1980s, there is an increasing incidence in younger adults, increasing two percent yearly in those under 50. The risk of colorectal cancer is about one in 25 in a lifetime.
How To Keep the Colon Healthy
There are many resolutions that you can make in the New Year to keep your gut and colon healthy. The start should be to feed your body colon-friendly foods. The prevention of up to 75% of colorectal cancers can be achieved through a healthy diet and other lifestyle choices. Basic rules for colon-healthy foods include: Increasing plant-based food consumption, limiting sugars, limiting red meat, increasing whole grains, and increasing fiber in your diet.
In addition to eating right, you should watch your weight. There is a direct link between an increased risk of colon cancer and obesity according to the National Cancer Institute. Carrying that extra weight puts a toll on the body. Keep physically active: 30 minutes of exercise daily keeps your weight down, benefits your heart, and further prevents colon cancer.
Getting regular screenings is one of the most vital steps in preventing colon cancer. You should get screened based on your individual risks that take into account your family history, age, race, and more. Your doctor may order a colonoscopy which not only can visualize the inside of your colon, but also can detect precancerous polyps so that they can be removed. Lastly, try to cut down on drinking and smoking.
Be Good to Your Colon
Go ahead to that NYE party and enjoy yourself. But the next day, remember the essential organ that is your colon and make resolutions to keep it healthy in the New Year. Drink plenty of water, and continue to carry out plans to prevent illness in the gut.