HEALTH Matters® Blog

Healthy Foods to Promote Colon Health

POSTED BY White Plains Hospital
April 08, 2021  
What you eat can lead to a healthier lifestyle.


The phrase “You are what you eat” is an appropriate description for how your colon works. The colon is a vital part of our overall health, and a well-balanced diet is the fuel that keeps it going. When your colon doesn’t function efficiently, it can exacerbate serious health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's Disease, and colon cancer. One way to keep your colon healthy is by following a diet rich in fiber, calcium, and vitamin D.

Grab Some Fruit…and Veggies Too

 “A wide variety of fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, water and antioxidants that protect you from digestive problems,” says Dr. Kimberly Yee, a colorectal surgeon and Director of the Colorectal Cancer Program at White Plains Hospital. “They contain vitamins and minerals that are good for digestion, such as vitamin C and potassium. For example, just a cup of blueberries can supply you with 14% of your daily fiber intake."

Leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, are also excellent sources of fiber, as well as nutrients like folate, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A. Green vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale contain glucosinolate, an organic compound which some studies suggest may have cancer-fighting effects.

Protein Substitutes for Gut Health

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has long recommended limiting your intake of processed meat. One daily serving of processed meat, which roughly translates to a hotdog at the family barbecue, increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. There are healthier ways to get enough protein in your diet, such through fish or nuts.
Dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent sources of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Yogurt is also known to be a natural disease fighter. All yogurts contain probiotics -"friendly bacteria" that can support digestive and immune health.

Drink Water to Flush the Toxins

“Most importantly, when you’re thinking about protecting your colon, don’t overlook the importance of staying hydrated,” reminds Dr. Yee. “Drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day, if not more, is the recommended amount to stay hydrated. Water moves food through the digestive system and flushes out toxins and waste from the body.”
Changing your eating habits might be difficult at first. But a healthy diet can help you maintain good colon health that can ultimately add years to your life.

Dr. Kimberly Yee is a colorectal surgeon and Director of the Colorectal Cancer Program at White Plains Hospital. ​To make an appointment, call (914) 948-1000.

Tags: calcium, colon cancer, fiber, protein, vegetables, vitamins