Top lifestyle tips for a healthy colon 


April 2023 

Just like any other part of your body, it’s important to pay attention to your colon health. 

A healthy colon is vital for the rest of your body. Often overlooked, the colon - or large intestine - has a significant role in taking care of you. Not only does it reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and oth­er colon dis­or­ders, it can lead to improved digestion, increased ener­gy, bet­ter absorp­tion of nutri­ents in your body and a healthy body weight. 

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer type worldwide; in 2020, almost two million cases were diagnosed. It is the second most common cause of cancer death, leading to almost one million deaths a year.

Just a few simple changes may be all it takes to promote a healthy colon. Here are seven lifestyle tips for a healthy colon.

According to the World Health Organisation, eating just under two ounces of processed meat every day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 per cent. That’s the equivalent of about four pieces of bacon or one burger. Red meats and processed meats are high in saturated fat and have been linked to colorectal cancer. Eat lean proteins such as beans, chicken, tofu and fish instead. 
Water is very important for your digestive system. Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to keep your large intestine efficient. The aver­age rec­om­mend­ed amount of water for women is 11.5 cups per day and 15.5 cups per day for men.
Physically active people have a 24 per cent lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who are not. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. Types of exercises for a healthy colon include abdominal stretching, yoga, walking 10–15 minutes a day, and aerobic exercise like running, cycling, and swimming.
Load up on fruit and vegetables which are high in antioxidants, and grain fibre which promotes regular bowel movements. The best way to add fibre into your diet is through fibre-rich fruits and vegetables, such as raspberries, pears, apples, bananas, oranges, cooked artichoke, peas, broccoli and corn. Whole grains are rich in fibre and will help to cleanse the colon. Oats, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa are all great sources. Try to incorporate 3 – 5 servings per day into your meals.
The risk for colorectal cancer is higher for people who are overweight or obese, especially for men. Work with your doctor to understand if you're overweight and make a plan for losing weight if you are. Once you're at a healthy weight, eating a well-balanced diet and exercising frequently will help you maintain a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index). 
Alcohol is a known risk factor for colorectal cancer. Drinking increases the workload on the liver, which causes more toxins to pass through the colon. Limit the use of alcohol to no more than 1 drink a day for women, and 2 for men. Smoking is also linked to colorectal cancer and the risk increases with both the length of time you smoke and the amount smoked.

One of the most important cancer prevention strategies is following the colorectal cancer screening guidelines based on age, risk factors and family history. The risk of colorectal cancer increases with age and men are also more likely than women to develop it. A family history of certain conditions can also increase your risk. The most common test for colorectal cancer is a colonoscopy. It's recommended that you start getting screened for colorectal cancer once you turn 50 or are high-risk.

It’s never too early to start colon-healthy habits. Simple lifestyle changes like a short walk during your lunch break, swapping a beef burger for a turkey burger now and then, or drinking an extra glass of water during the day are great places to start.

At Allianz Care, our mission is to keep you well. Whether you need help, advice or support, our Helpline is here for you 24/7. Contact us today.