Colon-HealthYour colon doesn’t get enough good press. You might know it by its other name, the large intestine. Here are the facts you should know to appreciate what this oddly-shaped, muscular tube does for you. First, it’s about four feet long and connects your small bowel to your anus. Secondly, your colon digests and absorbs nutrients, absorbs fluid and electrolytes and concentrates fecal material, and controls evacuation of fecal material.

 Do you know your colon cancer facts?

 Colorectal (colon) cancers are more common in women than you might realize and bad news. The National Cancer Institute reports that colorectal cancer is the third-highest cause of death for Caucasian and African American women in the U.S. (after lung and breast cancer). It’s the second most common cancer for women of Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian, and Hispanic ancestry.

What can you do to prevent colon cancer?

Let’s talk about diet. You’ve probably heard over and over that plant-based diets are good for you. But a new study shows that eating more vegetables and reducing meat gives your body cancer-fighting powers. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers first examined the self-reported eating habits of approximately 77,000 adults.

They then checked how many participants developed colorectal cancer seven years later. Overall, they studied 380 cases of colon cancer and 110 cases of rectal cancer over seven years. The results? You can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by what you eat. Vegetarian diets are associated with an overall lower incidence of colorectal cancers. Pesco-vegetarians (fish-eating vegetarians especially have a dramatically lower risk than non-vegetarians. Those who ate a vegetarian diet had a 20 percent lower overall occurrence of colorectal cancer (when compared to meat eaters). Order up those salmon rolls: pesco-vegetarians had a 43 percent lower risk.

Besides ordering seafood, the next time you’re rummaging around your cupboards, grab for the fruits, vegetables, beans, and bran cereals. Besides the vitamins you get, the fiber in all of them keeps the food moving through your digestive tract. Why’s that important? You want to reduce the time that toxins hang around your GI system. You normally ingest these toxins along with your food, and you want to move them out as soon as possible so they don’t cause DNA damage that might result in cancer.