The colon (otherwise known as the large intestine) is not only a key component of the digestive system—it plays a vital role in overall health, as well. Its main function is the removal of salt, water and toxins from indigestible food, keeping them out of the bloodstream where they can be harmful. The colon also helps the body eliminate solid food waste.
A healthy colon can lower your risk for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and colon cancer, and it can help relieve discomfort associated with gas and bloating. One way to keep your colon healthy is through proper diet. Here are five nutritious and tasty foods that also promote colon health.
Green vegetables. In addition to providing important vitamins for digestion and immunity—including vitamins C, E, K and folate—vegetables also contain fiber, which has been proven to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Cruciferous green vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and bok choy also contain glucosinolate, which some studies suggest may have cancer-fighting effects.
Fresh fruit. A wide variety of fruits, including strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, are rich in fiber, water and antioxidants, which act as natural digestive cleansers and help to keep your colon healthy. Other high-fiber fruits like pears, apples and bananas (a good source of magnesium) also promote good digestive and colon health and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Sweet potatoes. These sweet spuds are loaded with phytosterols, which make sweet potatoes a superfood when it comes to fighting colon cancer. They can also reduce the discomfort associated with constipation and irritable bowels. Additionally, sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber, beta carotene, vitamins C and E and manganese, all of which can assist with healthy bowel movements and reduce toxins in the colon.
Yogurt. We’ve all heard the yogurt commercials that talk about the power of probiotics, yet many of us don’t know what they are. Simply put, probiotic bacteria work to balance your body’s natural microbes and prevent the cultivation of disease-causing organisms. Yogurt, which contains probiotics as well as calcium and vitamin D—two nutrients that lower your risk for colon cancer—is a natural disease-fighter. It is also rich in fiber and other byproducts that promote healthy bowel activity and help guard against polyps and tumors in the colon.
Tuna. A significant portion of the body’s detoxification process takes place in the colon. Tuna contains copious amounts of selenium, the body’s key detoxification element. As a matter of fact, you can get 60 percent of your recommended daily allotment of selenium in just a three-ounce serving of tuna. Tuna is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (good fats), which help to prevent cancer.