Healthy Habits for a Healthier Bowel

Conditions and Treatments

Dr Gina Cleo

As we mark Bowel Cancer Day, it’s a good moment to reflect on how much our daily habits impact our bowel health and our overall risk of developing bowel cancer. This disease often starts off quietly as noncancerous polyps in the colon or rectum, which can become cancerous over time if ignored. 

While genetic predispositions and age factor into bowel cancer risk, adopting and maintaining a regimen of healthy practices can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing this disease. So, let’s look at how simple changes in our lifestyle can be powerful tools in fighting this prevalent disease. 

Here are 5 key habits that contribute to a healthier bowel: 

  1. Fibre-Rich Foods 

Let’s talk fibre — your bowel’s best friend. Foods packed with fibre, like fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, aren't just tasty; they’re vital for keeping things moving smoothly in your digestive tract. Fibre bulks up your stool, which makes it easier to pass and helps keep your bowel movements regular. Try mixing different fibre-rich foods into your meals to get a wide range of nutrients. 

  1. Hydration 

Staying hydrated is key. Drinking plenty of water softens your stool, making it easier to pass and helping prevent the discomfort of constipation. And if you’re upping your fibre intake, you’ll want to increase your water intake too, as fibre absorbs water in your digestive system. Don’t forget, herbal teas are also a great addition to your fluid intake. 

  1. Regular Movement  

Getting your body moving has more benefits than just fitness; it also helps your digestive system. Exercise stimulates the muscles in your digestive tract, which helps push waste through more efficiently. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days. Find an activity you love; it’s all about moving more in ways that feel good to you. 

  1. Limiting Processed Foods  

Cutting down on processed foods is a big plus for your bowel health. Foods like fast food, sugary snacks and refined grains often lack fibre and are loaded with unhealthy fats and additives that can throw off your digestive system. Whenever you can, choose whole, unprocessed foods— they’re better for your digestion and your overall health. 

  1. Moderating Alcohol and Caffeine 

Too much alcohol and caffeine can irritate your bowel and disrupt its normal functions. While a little might not hurt, it’s wise to watch how much you consume. Cutting back and opting for healthier choices like herbal teas or plain water can make a big difference in how your bowel feels and functions. 

By incorporating these healthy habits into your daily routine, you can support a stronger, more resilient bowel and reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer. Let's commemorate Bowel Cancer Day with a commitment to these positive lifestyle changes. Together, we can make a real impact on our health.  



Dr Gina Cleo

Please note: Dr Gina's blog is general advice only. For further information on this topic, please consult your healthcare professional.

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