November is Men's Health Month
How was your LAST bowel movement? Was it a good one? You know, the kind after you are done, you feel lighter! It feels like you can do cart wheels in the air!
I can remember as a kid my mom asking me “Did you have a good BM?” I would be like…”WHAT?”…and she would say…”Did you have a good bowel movement?” Like clockwork, I would quickly say “YES!” because it was not a conversation I wanted to engage in.
Back then, my mom would stress the importance of being aware of how often you were having a bowel movement, as well as, checking it! I can hear her saying “you need to know if everything is ok!” As adults, we can appreciate the lesson & now realize, the importance of that question.
According to The Journal of Nutrition, <3% of ALL AMERICANS consume the proper amount of fiber. Which means 97% of ALL AMERICANS ARE NOT CONSUMING ENOUGH FIBER IN THEIR DIETS.
Think about that.
Now think about this. According to The American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common diagnosed illness in both men and women in the United States. Just this year alone, 96,830 new cases of colon cancer & 40,000 new cases of rectal cancer have been reported. Colorectal cancer is also the third leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States & the second leading cause when both men & women statistics are combined.
Compile the problem with our obesity statistics and you quickly “see” the connecting aspects of the various epidemics we face in our health & wellness.
Here’s what we know for sure: There are a lot of things outside of our control. But there are many things we can control…the first being our CHOICES.
You CAN increase your fiber intake. You CAN make healthier food choices. You CAN get active. You can begin making BetterChoices so you can change the course & quality of your life.
Here are 5 simple things you can do to keep your colon healthy and your bowel movements regular:
Eat More Fiber! The average American gets about 10g of fiber per day! That may sound ok until you realize you need to consume 25-35g per day. Make sure your diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables like raspberries, bananas, broccoli, beans, whole grains/whole wheat cereals, breads, etc. Fiber not only keeps you full but its key function is to help eliminate food waste along your digestive track. This helps to keep your intestines clean and decrease your risk of colon diseases.
Drink Water: Water is so important for so many different reasons. We can not stress this point enough…DRINK WATER! DRINK WATER! DRINK WATER! When you do not consume enough water, it can lead to a build up of toxins in your body, cause constipation, bloating, gas, and even fatigue. Ask yourself, “How much water do I drink per day?” …8 cups is a start.
You MUST Exercise! Look…you can hate exercising all you want. That does not and will not change the fact that you MUST do it! It’s more important for you to find an exercise you enjoy doing instead of finding an excuse as to why you can’t find the time to do it. Exercise is a huge factor in keeping your colon healthy. Exercise increases the blood flow and circulation which allows your gastrointestinal system to get more oxygen. Try walking 15-30 minutes per day. It makes a difference you will enjoy & your body will rejoice for the time you make for it.
When you gotta go…GO! Stop holding it in! When you gotta go, you gotta go. Research suggests when you try holding in your bowel movement, build-up fecal matter can release toxins in your body. Your body will let you know exactly what it needs…PAY ATTENTION! Regular bowel movements help the colon keep itself clean & healthy. You should be having a bowel movement every 1-2 days…no more than 3 days. If you are not having regular bowel movements, consult your doctor and definitely make some changes in your diet to incorporate more foods rich in fiber.
Stop Smoking & Reduce Alcohol Consumption: Smoking increases your risk of colon cancer. Alcohol consumption, like red meat, is a general risk factor. The take away–quit smoking & drink in moderation.