Towards a Healthy Colon: Foods to Eat & Avoid


The colon is the final part of your digestive tract. Since its part of the digestive system, the food you eat is an important factor in the health of your colon. Keeping your colon healthy is essential to reduce the risk of colon can­cer and oth­er colon dis­or­ders. Eating a nutrient-dense, high-fiber diet keeps the walls of your colon strong and helps prevent hemorrhoids (piles) or pouches in your colon.

Following a healthy diet can lead to improved diges­tion, increased ener­gy, bet­ter absorp­tion of nutri­ents in your body, and healthy body weight.

What to Eat to Sup­port a Healthy Colon?

Increase your over­all fiber consumption

Fiber helps move food through your diges­tive tract, keep­ing you reg­u­lar and pre­vent­ing con­sti­pa­tion. The Dietary Guide­lines rec­om­mend adults get between 25 and 30 grams of fiber daily. High fiber diets help low­er your risk of colon can­cer and help pre­vent hem­or­rhoids that can lead to diver­tic­u­lar dis­ease.

The best way to add fiber to your diet is by eat­ing fiber-rich fruits, veg­eta­bles, whole grains, and legumes. Fol­low­ing are some of the best fiber-rich food choices:

  • Apples
  • Arti­chokes
  • Bananas
  • Black beans
  • Broc­coli
  • Brown rice
  • Brus­sels sprouts
  • Car­rots
  • Chick­peas
  • Lentils
  • Oranges
  • Peas
  • Rasp­ber­ries
  • Spinach
  • Sweet pota­toes
  • White beans

Con­sume plen­ty of Omega-3s

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Omega‑3 fat­ty acids can reduce inflam­ma­tion and improve the func­tion of colon cells. The best way to add omega-3s into your diet is through fish, nuts, and oils, and some of the best sources include:

  • Anchovies
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Her­ring
  • Mack­er­el
  • Olive oil
  • Salmon
  • Sar­dines
  • Sun­flower oil
  • Wal­nuts

Choose whole grains

Whole grains con­tain more colon-friend­ly vit­a­mins, min­er­als and fiber than refined grain foods such as white flour and white rice. When select­ing grains for your diet, choose from these options:

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  • Bar­ley
  • Brown rice
  • Cous­cous
  • Mil­let
  • Quinoa
  • Steel cut oats
  • Whole wheat
  • Wild rice

Add in Fer­ment­ed Foods

Fer­ment­ed foods con­tain live micro-organ­isms called pro­bi­otics, which help replen­ish the good bac­te­ria in your gut to sup­port opti­mal health. These foods add a new lev­el of fla­vor to your dish­es while pro­mot­ing colon health:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Kefir
  • Kim­chi
  • Kom­bucha
  • Sauer­kraut
  • Yogurt

Increase your Water Intake

Your colon is respon­si­ble for absorb­ing water into the body, so ensur­ing you have enough water through­out the day will help keep your colon and body in shape. Water also aids in keep­ing your diges­tive track mov­ing and flush­ing out all the fiber you have con­sumed. The amount of water you should con­sume in a day varies from per­son to per­son, depend­ing on fac­tors such as your weight and over­all dai­ly activ­i­ty lev­els. The aver­age rec­om­mend­ed amount for women is 11.5 cups per day and 15.5 cups per day for men.

Foods To Lim­it or Avoid

Red meat and Processed Meat

The Amer­i­can Can­cer Soci­ety has report­ed that per day con­sump­tion of 100 grams or more of red meat (the equiv­a­lent of a small ham­burg­er) or 50 grams of processed meat (like hot dogs and sausage) can increase chances of colon can­cer by 15 – 20 per­cent due to the high­er sat­u­rat­ed fat and preser­v­a­tive content.

Heav­i­ly Processed Foods

Processed foods usu­al­ly have high­er sodi­um, sug­ar and sat­u­rat­ed fat lev­els. Eat­ing these foods can lead to increased inflam­ma­tion in your body and can raise your risk of colon can­cer and colon dis­or­ders. To lim­it your intake of heav­i­ly processed foods, cut back on items such as:

  • Bak­ery products
  • Chips and crackers
  • Condi­ments — ketchup, may­on­naise, jel­lies, dress­ings, etc.
  • Fast food meals
  • Frozen meals and snacks
  • Mar­garine
  • Microwave pop­corn
  • Refined veg­etable oils — canola, corn, soybean

Refined Sugar

Stud­ies have found that diets high in sug­ar and low in fiber are linked to peo­ple with ulcer­a­tive col­i­tis, Crohn’s dis­ease and oth­er con­di­tions relat­ed to the colon. To lim­it your refined sug­ar intake cut back on food and drinks such as:

  • Brown­ies
  • Cakes
  • Can­dy
  • Cook­ies
  • Fruit juices
  • Ice Cream
  • Pies
  • Sodas

By fol­low­ing a healthy diet, you can boost your immune sys­tem while low­er­ing your risk for var­i­ous dis­eases with­in your colon.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.Original Article