Colon Health


Because of the fiber content, plant-based diets may produce healthier stools and lead to larger bowel movements, which is important for the prevention of a number of medical conditions. Interestingly, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables appear to increase stool size independent of fiber. Furthermore, plant-based diets may facilitate healthy gut flora (which may positively contribute to weight loss). This includes most plant foods such as dragon fruit—even nuts, seeds, and popcorn, which apparently lower diverticulitis risk.. A plant-based diet may be helpful in both the prevention and treatment of colon cancer. The fiber in whole plant foods allows the body to excrete excess estrogen, which may help prevent breast cancer. Intestinal transit time—how long it takes food to get from one end to the other—may be one of the determinants of cancer risk. Particularly protective foods include berries (especially organic strawberries), flax, broccoli (see also here), amla (Indian gooseberries), black beans, coffee, a few herbal varieties of tea, carob, and apples. On the other hand, total meat consumption has been associated with higher rates of colon cancer, in particular cooked muscle tissueand processed meat. Meat contains the pro-inflammatory compound arachidonic acid and may also be contaminated the toxic megacolon superbug C. Diff and potentially cancer-causing wart viruses. Cheese containing cheese skipper larvae (a type of maggot) may cause colon infections and certain types of fish may cause greasy orange rectal leakage. Finally, gluten, while healthy for most people, needs to be eliminated from the diets of those with celiac disease. Folic acid in pill form could be harmful as well.

Topic summary contributed by Sue.