Summer is here — we want to fling open the windows and let in the light and air. It’s also the perfect time to slow down, renew your health and detoxify your body, specifically your colon. While you are reading a book on the beach, you have the opportune time to also learn strategies to decrease your risk of colorectal cancer and provide the internal “closet cleaning” our bodies need daily.
So, put down your frothy beer and hot dogs and take a minute to check out these colon health tips for sweeping away the unnecessary toxins and junk this summer:
- Aim for 25-35 grams of dietary fiber per day in your diet.
- If you are new to adding fiber into your diet, increase the amount slowly and be sure to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water (if you weigh 150 pounds, for example, drink 75 ounces of water) each day to flush out your system and keep your GI tract moving.
- For every 10 grams of fiber you consume in your diet, you decrease the risk of colon cancer by approximately 10 percent. For reference, 10 grams of fiber is about the equivalent of 1 cup of beans.
- Incorporate fiber-filled foods daily including fruits (especially those with the skin or the peel such as apples, peaches and high-fiber berries), vegetables, beans, 100-percent whole grains, nuts and seeds.
- Be on the lookout for fiber-infused foods such as energy bars, breads, waters, cereals and more. Many foods today are adding fiber but may have aliases that you are not aware of — look for words such as “chicory root extract,” “inulin” and “prebiotic fiber” on food labels, as these words typically indicate added fiber to a food.
- Limit the amount of processed meats in your diet. Cut back on foods such as lunch meats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage and other high-sodium meats.
Here is a list of foods to incorporate into your diet for optimal digestive and colon health:
PROBIOTICS AND FERMENTED FOODS
- Yogurt (probiotic-enriched)
- Instead of the typical chips and salsa, dip some cut-up veggies or pickle spears into a
nonfat probiotic yogurt dip.
- Spread cottage cheese or add marinated tempeh on your sourdough bread instead of
- Add probiotic-enriched yogurt to your granola or oatmeal.
- Add kimchi to your scrambled eggs or morning omelet.
- Replace meat on your sandwich for BBQ tempeh when available.
- If eating a hot dog at a summer BBQ, top with sauerkraut in place of ketchup.
- Whole grains (amaranth, buckwheat, barley, oats, rye, bulgur)
- Legumes (beans, chickpeas, peanuts, lentils)
- Dark green leafy vegetables (turnip greens, spinach, Swiss chard)
- Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower)
- Nuts and seeds (almond, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseed, chia seeds)
- Avoid the juicing trend and consume the whole fruit or veggie instead of the juice.
- Swap out breakfast cereals for a bowl of granola topped with fresh berries.
- Thicken soups and stews with whole chia seeds.
- Toss cooked or roasted lentils into a tasty green salad for extra protein and fiber.
- Spread your sandwiches with hummus instead of mayonnaise or cream cheese.
- Ditch the greasy potato crisps for crunchy baked kale or spinach chips.
- Elevate your pizza by opting for a fiber-rich cauliflower crust.
- Choose to order roasted Brussels sprouts as a side dish when dining out.
- Use nuts and seeds like flax, almonds and pecans as a crunchy topping over soups,
salads or desserts.
- Mix and match dried fruits like cranberries or blueberries with almonds, walnuts and
pumpkin seeds for a nutritious trail mix
Stacy Goldberg is a nationally recognized nutritional consultant, registered nurse and the CEO of Savorfull, a Detroit-based company that sources healthy, allergen-friendly foods and provides nutrition-consulting. Savorfull is part of the Quicken Loans Family of Companies.