Fibre-rich foods and probiotics are vital, but what else can we do to ward off bowel cancer and other gut diseases?
Increase your fibre intake
Consuming fibre-rich food, around 25-35gm a day, is vital to maintaining healthy bowels.
A good amount of fibre keeps things “moving along”, helping your digestive tract stay clean and reducing the risk of diverticular disease.
You’ll find oodles of fibre in raspberries, bananas, prunes, peas, broccoli, beans, celery, and whole-wheat pasta.
Grain-based foods such as brown rice and whole-wheat breakfast cereals are also good sources.
Get more Vitamin D
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says a regular, steady intake of Vitamin D is integral to maintaining good bowel health and staving off colon cancer.
Of course, you can get a dose of Vitamin D simply by being outside (15-20 minutes’ exposure to the sun will do the trick), but foods like bread, fatty fish, milk and cereal are excellent sources.
If you are struggling to incorporate Vitamin D into your regular diet, then a supplement wouldn’t go amiss.
Probiotics are the live microorganisms found in bacteria, fungi or yeast.
Probiotics are integral to maintaining your gastrointestinal tract and promoting overall gut health.
Here are two simple ways to add more probiotics to your diet.
Sauerkraut is a crunchy, sour and healthy condiment made entirely from cabbage and salt via the process of lactic acid fermentation and the aid of kindly bacteria. Not only are these bacteria good for your gut and immune system, sauerkraut is heaving with vitamins and minerals.
Kombucha is a delicious and refreshing way to promote gut health and support the growth of probiotics. If you are buying store-bought varieties then look out for the sugar content. A lot of the new formulations contain high amounts of sugar with different flavours. Once you purchase a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria) it is quite simple to make at home.
Probiotics are also found in sourdough breads, yoghurt and kefir.
Don’t hold it in
Whenever you feel a bowel movement coming on, don’t delay. If you try to hold things in, the build-up can release toxins into your body which can in turn cause diverticulosis and IBS.
Keeping yourself regular is key to ensuring your bowels stay clean and healthy.
Not getting enough water can lead to a build-up of toxins, which can cause constipation, bloating, gas, IBS and fatigue.
Try to get through two to three litres of water a day to cleanse your bowels.
When you get moving through exercise, your blood flow increases and your circulation gets pumping and feeds more oxygen to the whole body, including your entire gastrointestinal system.
Doing this regularly can significantly reduce the chances of bowel cancer and other diseases.
But don’t assume you need to pound the gym for hours at a time – stretching, yoga, walking or a simple home workout can be enough to keep your colon happy.
Put your knees up above your hips
Western toilets aren’t designed to empty our bowels naturally.
By lifting your knees above your hips, you will able to do so in the way the human body was designed to.
There are companies that design and make “steps” to fit around the toilet bowl, allowing you to lift your feet up and push your knees above your hips.