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25 ways to go easier on your colon

Maintaining a healthy colon is vital for your overall health. Imagine it as the unexpected visitor who arrives without warning, causing a stir in your daily routine. To prevent such surprises and ensure your colon runs smoothly, it’s essential to be mindful of your diet and lifestyle.

Image of a person pouring milk into a glass.


Limit dairy.

Dairy products contain lactose, which some individuals find difficult to digest due to a lack of lactase enzyme.

This can lead to bloating, gas, and diarrhea. †

Lactose-free dairy or lactase supplements can help mitigate these symptoms by helping break down lactose more effectively.

Image of citrus fruits including grapefruit and oranges.


Be cautious with citrus.

Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons can irritate the digestive tract in some people, leading to acid reflux or heartburn. †

Their high acidity can be problematic for those with sensitive stomachs.

If you notice discomfort after consuming citrus, it may be wise to limit these fruits in your diet.

Image of broccoli on a green background


Reduce gas-inducing foods.

Foods such as beans, broccoli, and carbonated drinks are known to produce gas because they contain sugars and fibers that are fermented by bacteria in the colon.

This fermentation process can lead to bloating and discomfort. †

To minimize gas, you can eat these foods in smaller amounts and cook them thoroughly to break down some of the fibers.

Image of spicy foods on a table


Moderate spicy foods.

Spicy foods contain capsaicin, which can irritate the lining of the stomach or intestines for some people.

This irritation can lead to discomfort, including heartburn or diarrhea.†

If you find spicy foods cause issues, reducing the amount of spice in your meals may help alleviate symptoms.

Image of a wheat field


Watch wheat consumption.

Wheat and other gluten-containing grains can cause digestive issues for individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Ingesting gluten can lead to inflammation and discomfort in the digestive tract for these individuals.

Exploring gluten-free grain options can help avoid these symptoms while still providing necessary dietary fiber.

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Limit sugar intake.

High intake of sugars, such as fructose and sucrose, can lead to their fermentation in the large intestine, causing gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

Some people need help absorbing these sugars efficiently.

Reducing sugar intake can help minimize these digestive disturbances.

Image of chocolate on a table


Consume less chocolate.

Chocolate, which is high in fats, sugars, and caffeine, can stimulate the digestive tract and increase bowel movements.

For individuals with sensitive digestive systems, this can lead to discomfort.

Moderating chocolate consumption can help manage these symptoms.

Image of a person holding a hot cup of coffee


Cut down on caffeine.

Caffeine stimulates the gastrointestinal system, which can exacerbate symptoms like diarrhea and stomach cramps.

It can also increase acid production, potentially leading to heartburn.†

Limiting caffeine intake can help reduce these digestive issues.

Image of 3 people drinking alcoholic beverages by the poolside.


Alcohol in moderation.

Alcohol can irritate the digestive tract and affect the absorption of water, leading to diarrhea.

It also disrupts the natural balance of gut bacteria.

Drinking alcohol in moderation or avoiding it can help maintain colon health and prevent digestive discomfort.

Image of a woman lighting a cigarette.


Avoid smoking.

Smoking affects the motility of the digestive tract, which can lead to an increase in symptoms like heartburn and indigestion.

It can also contribute to the development of gastrointestinal diseases. †

Quitting smoking can improve digestive health and reduce the risk of these conditions.

Image of fatty foods that include a pizza and chicken wings.


Reduce fatty foods.

Foods high in fat can slow down the digestive process, causing a feeling of fullness and discomfort.

They can also exacerbate symptoms of acid reflux by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter.

Choosing leaner proteins and incorporating more fruits and vegetables can aid digestion.

Image of sugar free gummy bears


Beware of sugarless sweets.

Sorbitol, a common sweetener in sugar-free products, is not well absorbed by the body, leading to fermentation in the colon, which can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea.†

Limiting foods with sorbitol or other sugar alcohols can prevent these symptoms.

Image of a food diary


Maintain a food diary.

Keeping track of what you eat and how it affects your digestive system can help identify foods that cause discomfort or trigger symptoms.

This can be a valuable tool in managing dietary choices to support colon health.

Regularly updating the diary provides insights into how your diet affects your digestive well-being.

Image of a woman practicing relaxation techniques.


Practice relaxation techniques.

Stress has a significant impact on the gastrointestinal system, potentially worsening symptoms of disorders like IBS. †

Techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can help manage stress levels and reduce their impact on the digestive system.†

Incorporating these practices into your daily routine can promote relaxation and improve digestive health.

Image of a person running up a set of stairs outside.


Stay active.

Regular physical activity helps keep the digestive system functioning efficiently by reducing the time it takes for food to move through the large intestine, thereby decreasing water absorption and keeping stools soft.†

Exercise also helps manage stress, which can benefit digestive health.

Aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week can support colon health.

Image of a woman deep breathing with her hand over her chest


Deep breathing.

Deep breathing exercises can quickly reduce stress, which in turn can alleviate stress-induced digestive issues such as IBS flare-ups.

Focusing on slow, deep breaths can help relax the gastrointestinal tract and improve digestion. †

Practicing deep breathing daily, especially during moments of stress, can be beneficial.

Image of a woman eating slowly


Eat slowly.

Eating quickly can lead to air swallowing, contributing to bloating and gas.

It can also lead to overeating, which puts additional strain on the digestive system.

Chewing food thoroughly and eating slowly can help prevent these issues and improve nutrient absorption.

Image of a glass of water on the dinner table


Hydrate between meals.

Drinking fluids helps break down food, making it easier for the body to digest.

Water also keeps the stool soft, preventing constipation.†

However, drinking large amounts of liquids during meals can dilute stomach acid and enzymes, potentially hindering digestion, so it's best to hydrate between meals.

Image of a woman taking a warm bath


Enjoy warm baths.

The warmth from a bath can help relax the muscles around the colon, relieving cramps and discomfort associated with conditions like IBS.

This can be a soothing and effective way to manage abdominal pain.

Regular warm baths can also reduce stress, further benefiting digestive health.

Image of a person holding laxative supplements over a toilet.


Use laxatives wisely.

While laxatives can provide short-term relief from constipation, their overuse can lead to dependence and disrupt the colon's natural ability to contract.

This can worsen constipation over time.

Consultation with a healthcare provider can ensure the safe and effective use of laxatives.

Image of woman at a support group meeting


Seek support.

Dealing with chronic digestive issues can be challenging both physically and emotionally.

Support groups offer a space to share experiences and tips and receive emotional support from others who understand what you're going through.

This can reduce feelings of isolation and provide practical advice for managing symptoms.

Image of a woman drinking water to stay hydrated


Stay hydrated.

Adequate hydration is essential for softening stools and promoting regular bowel movements.

Water helps dissolve soluble fiber, which aids in stool formation and prevents constipation.

Aim for six to eight glasses a day, especially if increasing fiber intake.

Image of a bundle of carrots on top of a crate


Incorporate carrots.

Carrots are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps regulate digestion and maintain bowel health.

Whether consumed raw or cooked, they support the digestive process and can prevent constipation.

However, it's important to eat them in moderation to avoid excessive fiber intake.

Image of a bowl of pears


Choose pears.

Pears are a good source of water and fiber, making them effective in softening stools and facilitating easier bowel movements.

Fresh, ripe pears or pear juice can be particularly helpful for those with IBS symptoms.

Including pears in your diet can support digestive health and relieve constipation.

Image of a bowl of yogurt


Try yogurt.

Yogurt with live cultures introduces beneficial bacteria into the gut, improving microbial balance and supporting healthy digestion.†

These probiotics can help alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders, such as IBS.

Combining yogurt with fiber-rich foods like psyllium husks can enhance its benefits.

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